Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Night Suds - Saranac Chai Brown Ale


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Saranac Chai Brown Ale.

As has been their habit as of late, the good folks at Saranac have introduced a number of new beers in their winter variety box. In addition to old favorite Pale Ale (reviewed here (kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2009/03/sunday-night-suds-saranac-pale-ale.html) and more recent offerings 4059 Porter (reviewed here kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2012/11/sunday-night-suds-saranac-4059-porter.html) and Legacy IPA (reviewed here kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2014/02/sunday-night-suds-saranac-legacy-ipa.html ), the winter box contains the Chai Brown Ale along with Long John Lager and Into the Dark.

The Saranac website indicates that the Chai Brown Ale is made from a blend "of brown ale and chai spices - a lively, balanced brew with hints of coffee, cocoa, and vanilla."

I am not familiar with Chai as a spice (Mrs KB even corrected me that it is not pronounced like the Hebrew word for life). To me this beer taste like a light version of a Brown Ale with some earth and bitter spice. I don't taste any vanilla or cocoa and the bitter is more of traditional bitter and not a coffee note.

I did not find this beer to be an exceptional Brown Ale and would not attempt to pair this with anything other than a stew or similar smoky rich meat dish.

Saranac Chai Brown Ale is under the Kosher Supervision of the Va'ad of Detroit as is every other beer produced at the Matt Brewery plant in Utica, NY. Keep in mind, Saranac brews some of its High Peaks series off site and these bottles do not have kosher certification from the Va'ad of Detroit.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this beer, please follow this link www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/99/133450.

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.

If you've tried this beer or any others which have been reviewed on the kosher beers site, please feel free to post your comments (anonymous comments are acceptable).

Finally, if you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayeshev

The following is a brief summary of some of the thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Bereishis 37:31-36, the Torah recounts the story of the brothers showing Yaakov the coat dipped in goat's blood and Yaakov's reaction to seeing the coat. The Torah writes that Yaakov went into mourning and was inconsolable. Seeing this, Yaakov's sons and daughters attempted to comfort Yaakov, but were unsuccessful.

R' Frand quoted the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh who asked - why was Yaakov not capable of being consoled? This is understandable if a man has only one child or very few children. But Yaakov had many children! 

The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh notes that the Torah does not recount what the children did to try to comfort Yaakov.  Instead, the Torah writes that all of Yaakov's sons and daughters and his grandchildren came to console him. The thinking was that this gathering would console Yaakov because he would see all the children and grandchildren coming to see him. However, this did not console Yaakov as Yosef was irreplaceable to him.

R' Frand made reference to a story told by R' Oelbaum about this very vort of the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh. There was a Rabbi in Israel who told this vort before Maariv on a Friday Night. The Rabbi explained that the same way that Yaakov could not be consoled, Hashem feels the same way. Hashem sees all the Jews who are learning Torah and keeping the mitzvos. However, Hashem also sees all of the Jews who have left the faith and are not keeping the mitzvos and Hashem cries for them.

When the Rabbi finished the vort, he was approached by a man who had come to shul that night for yahrtzeit. The man was not frum and the Rabbi had occasionally tried to draw him in, but with no success. This night, the man approached the Rabbi and said - do you think Hashem cries for me? The Rabbi replied - absolutely! Hashem is a father much like Yaakov and he cries when he sees that his children have gone astray.

As a result of this conversation, the man began to keep mitzvos and he is now a frum Jew.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday Night Suds - Boulevard Pop Up Session IPA


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Boulevard's Pop Up Session IPA.

I picked this up in Binny's (Skokie) during our October trip to Chicago. Whenever I take trips to the Midwest or the Mid-Atlantic, I try to keep an eye out for Boulevard products. For reasons I can't fathom, this quality Kansas City based brewery exports their products to various regions of the United States, but not New York.

Normally a beer which is branded a "Session __" is a lighter version of the particular style and is often meant to be consumed in multiple quantities over a period of hours.

The Boulevard Pop Up Session IPA is somewhat lighter in color than a traditional IPA, but other than that the beer should not be taken lightly. The beer poured with a significant amount of foam and the lacing was present throughout. There is a nice amount of pine which hits you at the beginning of the sip and develops into a full floral after taste. 

Boulevard Pop Up Session IPA is under the Kosher Supervision of the Va'ad of Kansas City, but the bottle I purchased did not have the certification mark on the label. If you would like the LOC from the Va'ad, please let me know and I will email it to you.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this brew, please follow this link -http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/423/97172.

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver. 

If you've tried this beer or any others which have been reviewed on the kosher beers site, please feel free to post your comments (anonymous comments are acceptable). 

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayishlach

The following is a brief summary of some of the thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

R' Frand started the vort by quoting the Rabbeinu B'Chaye which mentions a medrash recorded in the Medrash Tanchuma. The medrash recites a conversation which took place between Chamor and Yaakov when Chamor told Yaakov that his son Shechem wished to marry Dina. Chamor said to Yaakov - I am a Nasi and your grandfather Avraham was a Nasi - this would be a great shidduch.

Yaakov of course rejected Chamor's suggestion. In so doing, Yaakov said to him, I am an ox and you are a donkey. You are not allowed to plow with an ox and donkey together, so this cannot be a good shidduch.

The medrash obviously requires explanation. However, prior to beginning the explanation, R' Frand made mention of a Rashi in Parshas Vayishlach (32:5). Rashi explains that when Yaakov told Esav that Yaakov had lived with Lavan, Yaakov told him - I was only a ger when I was in Lavan's house. I did not have a position of power. Look - the berachos of Yitzchak did not come true - so why be mad? You got the better end of the deal!

There are several problems with this Rashi. R' Moshe Feinstein notes that the berachos were a nevuah. Was Yaakov saying that they were a false prophecy and worthless? Also, merely because the berachos had not come true now did not mean that they would never come true. After all, they really only came to fruition in the time of Shlomo HaMelech!

R' Frand answered that Yaakov knew who he was dealing with and how to approach Esav. The Seforno in Parshas Toldos on Bereishis 25:31, explains that where Yaakov says "Michrah Kayom" - Yaakov is saying to Esav - you live for today. You put so much effort into today that you cannot appreciate the bechor. 

R' Frand explained that the difference between a tzaddik and a rasha is that the tzaddik looks to the long term, while the rasha wants instant gratification. The rasha wants the today and does not think about the reward which will come in olam haba.

Yaakov knew that the berachos would come true in the future and was willing to wait. But Yaakov also knew that Esav would not understand this. So he said to Esav - I have nothing now so the berachos must be worthless.

With this introduction, R Frand quoted R' Avraham Bukspan who explains the difference between an ox and a donkey. The ox is used for plowing and planting which is a long term plan. In contrast, the donkey is used for short term deliveries of items.

R' Frand also explained that an ox ruminates and uses the food for a long time, whereas the donkey eats for the present. 

This was the message to Chamor - you are only interested in the short term, whereas we think about the long term. This shidduch just cannot work.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Night Suds - Lionshead Light


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Lionshead Light.

Lionshead is a product of the Lion Brewery of Wilkes Barre, PA which also produces the Lion and Stegmaier brands of beer.

The Lionshead Light is a typical light beer which means that it is a lager which is both light in color and taste. The beer pours a very pale gold with a small amount of lacing which disappears quickly. The beer does not have much in the way of taste and the watered down flavor does not linger, even right after swallowing the sip. The beer also has a very low alcohol content (3.9% abv).

Although the price point on this beer is very reasonable, I cannot not recommend the brew as it just does not taste like beer.

Lionshead Light is certified kosher by the OU, and there is an OU on the label. For the experts take on the Lionshead Light, please click here beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/150/24363.

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.

If you've tried this beer or any others which have been reviewed on the kosher beers site, please feel free to post your comments (anonymous comments are acceptable).

Finally, if you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com/ to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thursday Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Veyeitzei

The following is a brief summary of some of the thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Bereishis 31:3 the Torah recounts that Hashem told Yaakov that it was time to leave Lavan's house. The next morning, Yaakov discusses this with Rachel and Leah and asks whether they should leave. The women respond that they have no inheritance or portion in their father's home so, yes, they should leave.

R' Frand quoted the Tolner Rebbi who asked a serious of questions about this story. Why did Yaakov ask Rachel and Leah whether they should leave? After all, Yaakov hated Lavan as Lavan had lied to him, switched his intended bride and stole from him. 

Additionally, since Hashem had appeared to him and told him that it was time to leave, why did Yaakov not just tell Rachel and Leah - Hashem said its time to go, so we are going.

R' Frand interjected that if a person had a dream and he saw an angel who told him that it was time to make aliyah, would he then get up the next morning and ask his spouse - should we listen to the angel?

Before answering the questions, R' Frand made reference to a vort from R' Chaim Shmulevitz on a story in Parshas Vayechi. Before asking Yosef to bury him in Maaras HaMachpeilah, Yaakov tells Yosef in Bereishis 48:7 that when Yaakov was coming back from Lavan to Eretz Yisrael, Rachel died and he buried her in Bethlethem. 

Rashi gives a little more color to the story and explains that Yaakov told Yosef - when Rachel died I buried her in Bethlethem, but it was not because it was too rainy or difficult to bring her to Chevron. It was because Hashem told me to bury her there because one day in the future the Jews will be exiled and they will travel past Bethlehem and Rachel will daven to Hashem to bring them back.

R' Chaim asked - why is that Yaakov said all this to Yosef? Why didn't he just say - I know that you are upset that I buried your mother in Bethlehem, but this is where Hashem told me to do it? 

R' Chaim answered that a person hears what he wants to hear. Yaakov was concerned that Yosef would think that maybe Yaakov had misunderstood Hashem and had only buried Rachel in Bethlehem for the sake of expediency. It was for this reason that Yaakov needed to spell out to Yosef - I know that you are upset, but I did not bury her there because it was too difficult to bring Rachel to Chevron, I did it because Hashem told me to.

For the very same reason, Yaakov needed to ask Rachel and Leah whether they should leave Lavan. Yaakov had many reasons to want to leave this evil man, but he also wanted to be certain that the decision to leave was not being influenced by his feelings about Lavan. For this reason he asked his family --should we go? And they responded - of course! 

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!