The Beer Gatherer

Blogging about Israeli beer in general and Israeli craft beer in particular, following 1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die and other beer musings.

Live Blogging

We just came back from an event hosted by Mr. Colin Scott, Master Blender of Chivas Regal, who is visiting Israel. Drank some cool Chivas-based cocktails, a nice portion of rich, condensed and a little smoky Chivas 25, Chivas 18 and water – diluted by the Master Blender himself and enjoyed meeting friends and colleagues off-hours. We munched on so many dried fruit that not only are we not tipsy, but we have some capacity for beer. This, and the lack of space in our fridge and the fact that tomorrow we’re hosting a session that requires some shelf space, are good enough reasons for a night cap or two. First is St, Bernardus Tripel – long time since we last drank this Abbey ale. I used to love these beers when I first started drinking, but my taste has shifted since. Anyway, I’m enjoying this one: It pours cloudy amber with a small foamy head. I smell peach, some clove, a little alcohol and maybe butterscotch candy. The taste is slightly bitter, rich and fruity – peach again, mostly sweet and very, very lightly sour – in a fruity sort of way. Full-bodied, carbonated, long, peach and apple finish. Not bad, I’d drink it again.

Next is Maredsous Bruin, or rather Maredsous 8, that pours dark brown with a pretty, big beige head. Pretty beer. I smell prune and some raisins and taste dried fruit and vanilla. It’s nice. There’s also some chocolate. Full-bodied, long, finish with hints of carob. Haven’t drank this beer for ages too, and I like it more than I thought I would.

Me and Maredsous

Me and Maredsous

 

As I’m writing this text, I’m also updating ratebeer and my Beer Gatherer Tracking list. It’s a colour-coded Google document, that’s so ahead of this blog it’s beyond embarrassing. While I’m at it, allow me to write about Hoegaarden Grand Cru, that I last drank in November or December. I love Belgian Witbier and I love Hoegaarden. Grand Cru, an 8.7% abv, is lethal: it’s a cloudy amber beer with white head that doesn’t look too suspicious. It has a dry apricot candy, orange, clementine and coriander aroma and yeasty juicy bitterness. Full-bodied, bubblegum finish, very drinkable and the 8.5%ABV aren’t too apparent. Quite an amazing beer it was, and if it was still available in Israel – the distribution stopped about 3 years ago – I’m sure I would’ve drank it when I had a chance. Anyway, it’s a live-blogging session, right? Let’s proceed to St. Bernardus Wit, cloudy blond ale and the last for tonight. Its dominant aroma is coriander, but it also has some dried apricot – quite a cool aroma! It tastes rather juicy – mildly bitter and just a little sour and – surprise! – a little malty, too. Unsurprisingly, it’s a full-bodied beer, carbonated, with slightly sour finish. Quite good.

We really didn’t expect to enjoy this little late-night tasting, but surprisingly, the beers appealed to our jaded palates.

St. Bernardus Tripel, Maredsous Bruin, Hoegaarden Grand Cru and St, Bernardus Wit are beers #311, #312, #313 and #314 I Must Try Before I Die.

See you next time!

Agent Orange

Despite the hiatus, i still do follow the 1001 book. Ticking overseas, talking friends into scoring me stuff when they are overseas, maintaining a mail-order schedule – the lot. Everything’s documented in a google spreadsheet, shared with beer buddies and potential traders and everything’s colour-coded: pink-on its way to me; blue – a drinking buddy has a bottle; red – own it; light blue – drank it; green – blogged about it. And there’s another colour code, orange – available in Israel. I have always treated code orange beers, compiled with the help of the local crew, as something that’s simply here to stay and never rushed to blog about them.
My bad. My bad and I know it. Hell, Samuel Adams Double Bock’s been off the range for a couple of years now and it’s still orange-coded. I should be paying more attention to the domestic inventory and today I’ve learned my lesson. We were visiting Shachar of Beer and Beyond fame this afternoon. Don’t remember why but he opened the list. I explained the colours to him and his first comment was that soon there will be no O’hara’s in the unholy land. This declaration was followed by a brief update about the departure of Zatec (had we only known two weeks ago, while vacationing in Prague…), Voll Damm (had I known 2 months ago while in the Canary Islands :( ) and Wells Banana Bread Beer (if only we were aware of it in September, in our beer trip in Northern England (right. As if we would’ve bothered then…)).
From Shachar’s we went to visit my gradma. Distraught, i phoned Porter and Sons and inquired about the availability of O’Hara’s stout. They still had it on tap, so from savta’s we headed straight there, sat in  the corner, asked maybe they still had a stray bottle of Wells Banana Bread, got a no for an answer and ordered, a glassful of O’Hara’s Irish Stout, maybe for the last time ever. A little creamy, a little dry, smooth and bitter. Looking tjrough my Untapped account I had drank it a few times over the past year. It is just that the beer was so everywhere that I thought i could procrastinate.
So O’Hara’s Irish Stout is beer #310 i must try before i die and this entry was typed entirely on my cellphone. Forgive the typos, ignore the carpal tunnel syndrome.
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An attempt to break the silence?

A month without blogging/ updating/ whatnot. I wish I could say that I’ve been having so much fun that I couldn’t find the time to write, but this is not the case. It’s work that keeps me away from the keyboard and the notebook and the pictures.
When weekend comes I run errands and do the obligatory family things that are sometimes pleasing and more often than not frustrating and then crash. Being in bed in 9p.m is my latest weekend pleasure, as well as avoiding people. Luckily, Lovely Niva is oblivious to my state of beer neglect. Several months ago, when she took her daughter to a family trip to Argentina, I asked her to bring back a bottle of Antares Imperial Stout, Argentina’s representative in the 1001 book. Niva happily obliged and since then the bottle’s been resting at her fridge. Today we finally drank it. Oblivious to my state she invited us to lunch at the moshav where she, her husband Chula and their three kids live, grow herbs, cook glorious food, collect mugs and brew their own MaiBEERovicz beer in an open garage.

As carnivorous as Argentinians get, we were treated with amazing vegan food and lots of beer. We had quite a varied tasting session, with beer from Ghana, Tanzania, Belgium, Spain, USA, Ireland and Israel that was concluded with that bottle of Antares Imperial Stout. Despite the months that have passed, the beer remained pretty awesome, with deep chocolate aroma and taste, roastiness and some ash. The body was on the light side, considering it’s a 8.5% Imperial Stout we’re talking about. Drinkable, fun and definitely worth the time and calories involved. Better than Quilmes, for sure!

post-tasting shot

post-tasting shot

Antares Imperial Stout is beer #309 I Must Try Before I die. I am actually some 50 beers behind. Less than 2 months til my birthday. Should I opt for a catching-up challenge?

Bumping Into Beer

Ideal Tasting for Augustiner Tasting

Ideal Setting for Augustiner Tasting

Last post I missed Augustiner Lagerbier Hell that was shared by REL. Apparently it is also in the book but I only realized it shortly after posting the previous post. We were at a tasting and I was looking through my files when I found it’s in the book too. It wasn’t too amazing, the sample we tried was nothing more than OK – grainy, slightly bitter, light-bodied. Augustiner is one of our favourite Munich breweries and we fondly remember the beers we drank there – drank, not sampled. Some beers are just better tasted “live”.

Still, I got to drink beer #308 I Must Try Before I Die.

Augustiner Bier - the lightweight version

Augustiner Bier – the lightweight version

Break The Spell

It’s been over a month since my last post here, and ages since the last post in beerdrinking. We flew to England. Traveled in towns and villages, following CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide book and App. Attended a Real Ale festival in York. Drank 125 different beers and ciders over the course of six days. Returned home to madness. Campaign, work-related bar crawls, no time to eat or sleep or see loved ones. Crashing on Friday night – our weekend – after a long day of phone calls and emails going back and forth – Tel Aviv – Paris, Paris – Dublin, London and New York somewhere in-between. Typing and being creative were the last things on my mind. I just wanted to sleep.

The campaign is finally up and like a teenage groupie I find myself driving ‘unnecessarily’, ‘accidentally’ bumping into ‘my’ outdoor ads. Yup, I am THIS lame. And now I have two weekends to rest before flying to an incentive trip with dozens of bar and restaurant owners from all over the country and writing business reviews and preparing corporate visits and whatnot. It’s a chance to recap, train the fingertips to type and the mind to focus on my things, my home-grown passion. I wanna write about the Real Ale Trail. However, we haven’t edited the photos and I haven’t read my notes from the trip yet. And since our return I attended two tastings and drank stuff from The Book and tonight there’s another tasting and more Book beers and if I don’t cover whatever has been consumed over the past two weeks the world will fall apart! Won’t it?

So, The weekend after we returned The Secret Agent and I attended an extensive tasting. One session, 21 beers. I shit you not. We contributed 3 bottles to this session:

Surly Coffee Bender with black pepper, coffee and vanilla aroma and delicate coffee sourness – derived from  cold-pressing the beer in ground coffee beans and results in a tasty, fun drink; Mill Street Coffee Porter grabbed by my Excellent Little Brother on a business trip to Toronto, where coffee is also very dominant, both in the mouth and in the nose, but a bit drier and roastier than the previous one and North Coast Brother Thelonious, A big Belgian beer that holds 9.3% abv and adorns a beautiful label. It’s a spicy one: fruity, nutty, raisins, clove and cinnamon in the nose, very fruity, sweet and slightly alcoholic taste and a sweet fruity finish. Still, despite the high abv. and its Belgianness, it wasn’t a tough drink.

The following week I drove REL and The Actuary (who as I typing this are now ticking and rating in Rome’s craft beer festival) to Baseball Tom’s sunlit bachelor pad in the ‘burbs. We watched Brew Dogs and Brewmasters and tasted beer like Yona Yona Ale that Tom brought back from Thailand, a Japanese APA. It was a pretty ugly beer – filled with weird floaties, with peach and toffee aroma and sweet toffee taste. I didn’t feel the  cascade hops or anything like that – something happened to the content of the can before we opened it. Another APA we drank in the occasion was Three Floyds Alpha King which was pretty good: I’ve had the bottle for quite some time and while its hoppiness started to fade, but soft, orangey bitter taste and a smooth, citrusy finish indicated its previous awesomeness.

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Now off to rest for an hour, before heading out to another tasting.

These were beers #303, #304, #305, #306 and #307 I Must Try Before I Die. More to come tonight.

Post Yom Kippur Post

Just a small gathering right after Yom Kippur. Baseball Tom drove from the ‘burbs. Dead Swedish Girl and Living Swedish Boy caught the first bus from the city’s seedy underbelly. As soon as he finished the weekly family trivia game REL took a cab to our northern neighbourhood. Post-fasting tasting. Intimate, familiar, relaxed, spontaneous. We drank 3 beers from the Book. Stone Ruination – we already covered here. Palm -  from Belgium’s largest family-owned brewery, says Dead Swedish Girl, is just a mediocre Belgian Ale. Mellow, simple, malty in the nose and sweet in the mouth. Some alcohol, some toffee, but everything’s rather faint. This beer’s the definition of mediocre, I wrote in my notebook.

Mad River John Barleycorn is a full and heavy barley wine which has been stored in our fridge for quite a while – I totally forgot it was there, really. With its hazy brown colour it is not the prettiest beer around but its rich chocolatey earthy taste and complex apple, alcoholic and chocolate aroma compensate for its look. It’s a good one.

Palm and John Barleycorn are beers #301 and #302 I Must Try Before I Die.

Have a good week y’all.

Past Deadline

When I returned to work after the long Rosh HaShana weekend, The Beer Greek remarked that I flunked the deadline I gave myself. 300 ticks by Rosh Hashana, then by the end of the holiday. I know. I had life to attend to. What can I do?
It’s the morning of Yom Kippur now, time for me, non-observant, to catch up on all sorts of things, from laundry to travel plans to work (cos Paris and London and New York and Dublin don’t care much about Yom Kippur and neither does the tight schedule I’m on in real-life) – and to blog. So here it is – the 300 count-up!

Love this ad.

Love this ad.

Yesterday evening The Secret Agent’s metalhead cousin dropped by. Other than rum educational we opened our bottle of beer #289 – Estrella Damm Inedit. It’s a magnum bottle and we were looking for an opportunity to share it with someone. I fondly remembered this Belgian-style wheat beer, but last night’s bottle was a little oxidized. Hazy golden with a frothy white head – looks as elegant as the bottle – sweet, fruity aroma and sweet taste. Estrella Damm Inedit was created for El Bulli restaurant that was since closed but the beer is still in production. Sexy bottle, if there ever was one, but that’s it.

Then we opened another big-ish bottle, Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale, beer #290. I love Stone beer and so do the 1001 Beers book editors, as there are 4 beers from this brewery in the book. This American Strong Ale is both very hoppy, fruity AND chocolatey and no, it isn’t cacophonic at all.

this must be tattooed on more than one shoulder

this must be tattooed on more than one shoulder

Blixa and the first beer for the Jewish year

Blixa and the first beer for the Jewish year

Last week, in Rosh Hashana morning, right after I blogged, I opened a bottle of Fuller’s Honey Dew. Timing for beer #291 was perfect, as honey is a traditional new year food – for a sweet start. I try to avoid honey but beer is somewhat of an exception for everything in life.  The UK’s first organic beer pours honey-gold and smells like honey that was left standing and became sweeter and thicker. Honey also dominates the mouth but this is definitely a beer, and a good one, too, with nice maltiness, full body, and a lingering, honey-bitter finish.

Later that day we drank beer #292: Svyturys Ekstra – good-for-a-hot-day-on-the-beach kind of helles that smelled a little corny, even though it contains rice. The Secret Agent and I are not the target audience for beach beer .

Let’s move on – just before Rosh HaShana 4 of us gathered at the Dancing Camel Pub for a small tasting/ rating/ untapping/ ticking session. The Secret Agent didn’t join me, so I brought bottles that he could care less about, i.e. ‘exotic’ (i.e. nasty) lagers from Tahiti and Laos. Yup – after months of searching I finally found a bottle of Beerlao Lager – the light one, which is beer #293, another ricey beer. Hazy golden it poured – and I was expecting clear beer – corn and petrol aroma and unpleasing bitter sensation in the mouth. Ugh. Things got better when Dead Swedish Girl schlapped beer #294 – Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter. We’ll be in Yorkshire next week, but our beer sampling agenda is full already so I’m glad I got to taste this lovely roasty-smoky goodness. It tastes a little alcoholic and has these really cool hints of sausage that I’m a real sucker for – guilty pleasure for a 21 years vegetarian…  Beer #295 was a real tread - Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA from Eugene, OR. It’s a good one. Orange, clear-going-hazy with a big white head, faint hoppy aroma of onion peel and floral, oniony bitterness and a little dry – tasty and refreshing. Thank you Baseball Tom for getting your friend to bring it!

dancing_camel_september2013

5 more til the 300th beer in this project and I’ll stick to American beers, that dominate the book. Widmer Brothers Hefe Weizen is beer #296 and it is a disappointment: tasteless, aroma-less. This is probably yet another case of getting old bottles to the beer desert we live in, because seriously, our bottle was like a homebrew gone wrong and it can’t be the case. Earlier this year we sampled their Reserve Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout that was wonderful, so I’m sure it’s not the beer or the batch, but rather shipping, storing and handling of this specific bottle. Next.

Great Lakes Brewing Company from Cleveland’s been caught our attention lately, with curious beers such as Elliot Ness and Rye of the Tiger. They have 2 beers in the book: Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold is beer #297 and the second helles/ Dortmunder in this entry. As opposed to the Lithuanian beer above, this stuff is good: A little pickle juice, sweet and a little plastic aroma, sweet  and then bitter taste, pickly too. Medium body, fizzy and yet smooth, bitter finish. Nothing too complex, but something I’d be happy to drink again. Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald got its own entry in the best beer blog I’ve ever seen: Beer Labels in Motion on tumblr- whata wonderful homage to a wonderful porter, that is beer #298: very dark ruby-red with tan head. Slightly roasty aroma with a little wine and condensed coffee, tastes roasty and bitter with a little cucumber(!) Medium bodied, slightly roasty finish, robust.

Last two beers in this loooong entry/list are brewed by Avery Brewing Co. from Colorado: beer #299 is Ellie’s Brown Ale is nice and complex: chocolate and warm carrot juice aroma, chocolate and malt taste. Medium body, soft chocolate finish. Avery The Maharaja is the second Double IPA in this post and it is also the very random beer #300 I Must Try Before I Die. It’s a hoppy beer with pine, many flowers and lychee notes that tastes a little old, yet bitter and hoppy with some almond bitterness too. Full body, long and bitter finish.

And now what? 701 more beers to try before I die. Got a couple more that I drank and haven’t written about – hopefully I’ll get to it in the next holiday, around Tuesday-Wednesday, a bunch of bottle in the fridge, an upcoming trip to Northern England and a long journey ahead. At least The Beer Greek won’t scold me tomorrow at work.

Getting Things Done

I promised to myself I’d tick 300 beers by Rosh HaShana. Due to circumstances, aka long shifts at the coal mines, allow me to extend my deadline til Saturday. Got 19 more beers to write about so the upcoming posts are going to be as much down-to-earth lists as possible.

First is last – last night’s last drink at the last spot in the pub crawl we joined after the holiday dinner. Vova from Laughing Buddha beer was posting pictures on Facebook, we returned to town, I switched to flats and we hopped along to the last 3 pubs in their rounds. It was 3 a.m when we hit Florentin 10 in Florentin neighbourhood in Tel Aviv and the Murphy’s Irish Stout I ordered was decent than the previous rounds. Taps weren’t infested, keg was relatively fresh. Not big fan of commercial stouts, it was fine: less creamy than Guinness, caramel and faintly roasted.

We drank De Koninck for the first time in Antwerp a couple of years ago and then a couple of months back on a lazy Saturday afternoon at home, in front of an episode of Mad Men, before the mediocre 6th season hit us. Bottle.  Faint berry jam,sweet malty aroma, pleasing bitterness with a sweet notch and a biscuity finish make a nice, refreshing beer.

Het Kapittel Watou Prior is nice as well, but far from being refreshing and fun, with 9% abv. It is a full-bodied beer with dried fruit, burnt rubber and raisins aroma, bitter, fruity, yeasty, plastic-y and spicy taste,  and spicy finish.

Another Belgian beer we drank recently is Gulden Draak, 10.5% abv, Belgian, of course. Cookiedough, spices and a little alcohol in the nose, sweet, alcoholic, spicy but not offensive in the mouth. It was a rather pleasing beer and the high alcoholic volume wasn’t too apparent

going through my list of to-blog beers, I see that Adnams Broadside was neglected. Troubles shared it a long time ago. As we’re getting ready to our short English expedition, I’m getting all excited about ales and  such, but my notes say that this beer wasn’t that exciting: candy and black pepper aroma, sweet taste with bitter undertones, medium body and smooth texture. It was probably a little old when we tasted it.

Another one from a tasting of yore is Ringwood Old Thumper from Portland, Maine. I believe we had an old bottle, as its aroma, other than being floral and sweet was a little mold-ish. It tasted bitter and had some honey notes too, and a syrupy finish. Not good, again, probably old.

Let’s finish this entry with a German beer. Köstritzer Schwarzbier, the bottle that Tumblr Jenna brought us, was familiar. We first drank it with Jenna 10 years ago, when we first met her in Berlin. Can’t find anything symbolic about drinking it again in Israel, but whatever – it’s a good beer. Malt, some sugar, chocolate – like a fresh malt beverage -  and some grass in the nose. Taste is sweet and a little more bitter than malt beverage. Dryish malty finish, medium body. Easy to drink and quite nice.

The above were beers #282, #283, #284, #285, #286, #287 and #288 I Must Try Before I Die. I really don’t have time to look for pictures and stuff because I have a beer trip to England to plan, so take it text-only this time.

Bye Bye.

Back in Black

Still the same excuse for slowing down: work, work, work. But I AM determined to reach 300 by Rosh HaShana, which is 2 weeks or so from today.
On today’s menu are three stouts, vary by style and country. First is Porterhouse Oyster Stout from Ireland. Breawed with fresh oysters, it smells a little salty, with notes of seaweed, ink and lots of sweet coffee. It’s bitter, slightly salty and bears hints of ash in the mouth. Full-bodied, smooth textured and weak carbonation. I loved it – well made.

Next is El Toro Negro Oatmeal Stout from California – black with a pretty tan head, rich aroma, oatmeal-ish with a little ash and roast. Rich, roasty, robust taste with this cool cocoa bittersweetness. Full body, some carbonation, long, cocoa finish and general awesomeness.

Last one for today is Carib Royal Extra Stout from Trinidad & Tobago. The bottle we sampled was quite old, but I’m not sure how good it is when fresh. Better, for sure, but doubt it bears any greatness. It’s a sweet beer. The definition of sweet beer, even. The aroma is faintly roasty but mainly smells of sweet chocolate drink, cardboard and sugar and it really tastes like sweet coffee. After the sweet coffee comes the sugar injection. Pretty intense and far from being great.

Porterhouse Oyster Stout, El Toro Negro Oatmeal Stout and Carib Royal Extra Stout are beers #279, #280 and #281 I Must Try Before I Die.

Romanian Beer Adventures Pt. III: Craft Beer Bars in Bucharest

What's the time? Why, it's Beer O'clock!

What’s the time? Why, it’s Beer O’clock!

Our good friend Shmupi is an avid Foursquare user. He is also a big fan of Belgian blond ales. And he is Romanian – born, raised and with grandparents in the homeland. His Facebook updates from Beer O’clock answered the first question we asked ourselves when Family Agent started planning the trip to Romania, which is, of course – the state of craft beer in the nation. Besides following Shmupi’s check-ins we visited Ratebeer.com and thus built a short but sweet beer itinerary for Bucharest: Beer O’clock, Beer O’clock 2 and La 100 de Beri. 3 bars, conveniently located within a few meters of each other, in the city’s old town, some 1o minutes walk from our hotel. The latter prides itself with 100 beers on the menu. The former’s website counts 165. Way more modest number than Delirium Cafe’s menu, much more extensive than any bar in Israel. We figured we’d find plenty of new things to drink there without being overwhelmed. Moreover, these places focused on being beer bars and not tourist attractions, or so it seemed from Shmupi’s check-ins and the reviews we read – suit us just fine.

My fave spot on the bar - behind the taps.

My fave spot on the bar – behind the taps.

The first bar we visited was La 100 de Beri. Just like everywhere else in Romania, the place is smokers-friendly and breathers’ enemy. No proper ventilation, but there’s a spacier room in the back that has more air and is more tolerable. Several beers on tap, including hand-pumped English ales and German and Czech representatives. The inventory does not necessarily corresponds with the menu – many beers were missing so after the 3rd attempt we just asked to look at the refrigerators, that stocked plenty of stuff that’s not on the menu, for example Engel Aloisius from Germany or Wychwood fruit beer. The staff is helpful and knowledgeable – they were nice enough to tolerate our beergeek idiosyncrasies: taking pictures, writing notes, peeling off labels and collecting caps. This is our favourite bar in Bucharest and after our initial visit on the first night of our trip we sat there twice more when we returned to Bucharest in the end of the trip. The staff recognized us on the third time; too bad we had to fly back just when we started to be regular customers. 3 visits, two heavy drinkers and one Californian Agent who joined us in our last session there – that means plenty of beer. In order to make this short and sweet, here are the beers that are listed in the 1001 book that we drank there:

 

Rychtar Premium 12 – a bottle of generic Czech pils; Stiegl Goldbrau – Austrian lager, fresh and bitter; Shepherd Neame Bishops Finger which was both beautiful and tasty; Orkney Dark Island – one of the few Orkney brews we sampled in the trip – robust, salty, roasty Old Ale with sausage, iodine and dried fruit taste; and König Ludwig Dunkel that obviously had gone bad (BB date April 2013) but tasted fine by me – grainy and chocolatey.

On the first night we headed to Beer O’clock after leaving La 100 de Beri. Bigger space, broader selection. The extensive menu includes rarities such as aged bottles of Trappist ales and Brewdog’s expensive editions such as Abstrakt and Tactical Nuclear Penguin. Despite the inviting menu we only stayed for one round: the place reeks of cigarette smoke in such a way that The Secret Agent’s eyes reddened and I had to go out to the cold street in order to smell my beer. I drank De Ranke XX Bitter, a fine Belgian Ale that we enjoyed a couple of years ago in Belgium and were happy to drink again and enjoy its toffee and citrus notes. We bought a bunch of bottles to drink in the following days and take home and left.

A fridge to die for

A fridge to die for

After traveling all over -  in pastoral villages, touristic cities, small towns where the family’s from – we returned to Bucharest. On the first afternoon The Secret Agent and I split from the family and checked out Beer O’clock II, which is located in a small alley, filled with cafe’s and shisha lounges. At 4 or 5 p.m. the door was closed but the place was just opening. Sleazy heavy metal in the background, same extensive menu but due to the early hour and the fact that we were the first customers – no smoke. This bar is smaller than the mother ship, with a bar on the first floor and tables in the gallery. Looks less shiny but we liked it better because of the cleaner air. We hung out for a few rounds and drank a couple of beers from the book: Oakham JHB from England, tropical hoppiness and bitter with nettle-like finish that I liked alot, liked enough to order Oakham Citra that didn’t disappoint either. La Caracole Nostradamus is a pretty good Belgian Strong Ale that is very fruity in the nose and and tastes sweet and spicy. We ordered a couple of German beers that we enjoyed and Primator Double 24, a nasty, 10.5% abv. Czech Doppelbock that I simply couldn’t finish; it tasted like overly sugared coffee and alcohol.

So, what have we got here, count-wise? The bold-marked ones are beers #270-#278 I Must Try Before I Die. Noroc!

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