Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Samuel Adams Ginger Beer


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Samuel Adams' Ginger Beer.

As mentioned in last week's review of the Samuel Adams' Hopflake White IPA, the Ginger Beer is one of the new brews included in this year's winter mix box which also contains: Boston Lager; Winter Lager; the old time favorite Old Fezziwig and the Chocolate Bock (which is DAIRY again this year).

As I sat down to write this review, I realized the anomaly which is the Ginger Beer. The overwhelming majority of breweries choose one of two methods for naming their brews - either the beer has a descriptive name like ___ Ale or ___Stout, where the first word modifies or describes the defining style of the beer, or they just give it a cute name which has nothing to do with beer.

The Ginger Beer is none of the above as they just call it "beer". 

When trying the brew, I tried to pin it down to a particular style, but there was no hop bite, no phenols, and no perceptible malts. The good folks at BA have categorized it as a herbed/spiced beer which they explain: 

"This style takes on and beer that is specially herbed and or spiced. This is anything from the common spiced Fall Pumpkin beer to Christmas beers with nutmeg and cinnamon to ginger beers to heather ales. Some brewers will throw just about anything into the brew kettle; hot peppers, hemp, ginseng or spruce needles. Keep you mind open when you are trying some as brewers will always keep on trying to expand the limits of what beer is."

The beer itself tastes like ginger ale, plain and simple. Although there is a 6.0 abv, I did not detect the alcohol as it is masked by the ginger. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with ginger ale and unlike some of the hard ginger ales which I have tried (reviewed here http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2016/03/sunday-night-suds-henrys-hard-ginger.html) the Samuel Adams is not overwhelming sweet. Having said that it just does not taste like beer.

The Samuel Adams Ginger Beer is under the Kosher Supervision of the Star-K and has a Star-K certification mark on the label. To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this brew, please follow this link - beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/35/241782.

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 are reading this post more than six months after it was written, please note that it is possible that the product is no longer still certified kosher. To verify that the product is still certified kosher, please click on the kosher beers list link on the top left corner of the blog.

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, January 12, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayechi

The following is a brief summary of some of 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 began the vort by noting that Ya'akov's beracha to Reuven implied that Reuven could have had both the role of priests (Kehuna) and kings (Malchus) but he lost these opportunities. As stated in Bereishis 49:3, Ya'akov said to Reuven that that he was his first born and "Yeser S'iais V'Yeser Az." Rashi explains that the word S'iais is an allusion to the priestly blessing and Az is an allusion to the might of being a king. However, in the next pasuk, Ya'akov tells Reuven that he lost these roles by being impetuous like rapidly flowing water in that he jumped to move Ya'akov's bed from the tent of Bilhah to the tent of Leah. 

However, when it comes to the blessing of Yehuda, he is given the beracha of malchus as it states in Bereishis 49:9 that although he was part of the conspiracy to murder Yosef and claim that he was killed by a wild animal, but he escaped it by changing his mind. Rashi explains that Ya'akov was also alluding to how Yehuda changed his mind from wanting to have Tamar killed, but after reviewing the evidence she presented, he took back his directive and admitted that he was wrong.

R' Frand quoted R' Bukspan from Florida (presumably from his sefer Classics & Beyond, Parsha Pearls) who says that the quality of being a leader does not lend well to someone who is impetuous and does not contemplate and rethink whether he is making the right decision. Reuven stood up for his mother's honor, but at the cost of embarrassing his father. Reuven did not think things through, he just acted. Meanwhile Yehuda also had reactions, but then he took a step back and said maybe this is not right - this is a quality that a king needs. But the attitude of shoot first and ask questions later is not the way of a king. And if you can't say "I was wrong, I made a mistake" you can't be a king.

R' Frand also quoted a Medrash which describes Reuven's teshuva and shows that he learned from his mistakes. The Medrash states that Reuven made for himself a mikveh and he immersed himself therein. R' Frand noted that there are two forms of mikvaos - a mikveh of collected rainwater or a ma'ayan - a spring of fast flowing water. When Reuven did teshuva he immersed himself in a collected water mikveh which showed that he realized that you need to slow down and think.

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, January 8, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Samuel Adams Hopflake White IPA


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Samuel Adams Hopflake White IPA.

The Hopflake White IPA is included in this year's winter mix box which also includes another new beer (Samuel Adams Ginger Beer); Boston Lager; Winter Lager; the old time favorite Old Fezziwig and the Chocolate Bock (which is DAIRY again this year).

The beer poured a golden yellow, but a little pale for an IPA. In fact, although they call this an IPA, the Hopflake White IPA is not heavily citrusy and is somewhat watered down. Having said that, there is some pine and some lemon which may or may not be from the lemongrass.

This beer is very drinkable, but not a classic IPA and even a bit light for a winter beer. I would recommend pairing this with pizza or other spicy, saucy fare. If you have had a combination which works for you, please post it in the comments below.

The Samuel Adams Hopflake White IPA is under the Kosher Supervision of the Star-K and has a Star-K certification mark on the label. To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this brew, please follow this link - beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/35/241737.

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 are reading this post more than six months after it was written, please note that it is possible that the product is no longer still certified kosher. To verify that the product is still certified kosher, please click on the kosher beers list link on the top left corner of the blog.

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, January 5, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayigash

The following is a brief summary of some of 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 44:31, Yehuda tells Yosef that if Yehuda did not return Binyamin to Ya'akov, it would kill Ya'akov. This statement seems to convince Yosef that he must let Binyamin go and leads to Yosef's unmasking of himself.

R' Frand asked - how is it that Yehuda knew that this was true? Yehuda would not have said this to Yosef if it was untrue, but how did he know that if Binyamin was not returned, it would be the death of Ya'akov?

R' Frand answered this question by quoting the Sfas Emes who observed that people are driven to work because they have a goal of building and supporting their families. But the Avos had a greater vision and wanted to build Klal Yisrael and they were willing to do whatever was necessary to build it.

Ya'akov had a very difficult life, but was able to accept it and get through it, because he knew it was part of building Klal Yisrael. But he knew when he spoke with Yehuda about bringing Binyamin down to Egypt that it would be the end of his troubles. He even expressed this to Yehuda in Bereishis 43:14 when he used the term Kel Shakai - which Rashi explains based on the Medrash was Ya'akov's way of telling Yehuda that Hashem has said that with this, Ya'akov will have had "enough" troubles.

If Ya'akov who had survived running from his house, living with Lavan, seeing his daughter taken and son "slain" and then said that this would be "enough" for his troubles, then Yehuda knew that Ya'akov actually was saying (sans melodrama) that Ya'akov would die if Binyamin did not get back.

The Sfas Emes then applied this reasoning to the age old question -  after Yosef became the viceroy in Egypy, why didn't Yosef send a message back to Ya'akov that he was still alive? He explained that Yosef knew that Ya'akov's mission was to go through all these troubles and that they came from Hashem for a reason. So I wont be the one who changes things and tells Ya'akov that I am alive.

The Sfas Emes then applies this to later in the parsha where Yosef and Binyamin embrace and cry (Bereishis 45:14). Rashi explains that Yosef cried because he saw that two Batei Mikdash which would be in Binyamin's land would be destroyed. But why was that Yosef's vision when he hugged his brother for the first time in more than 22 years?

The Sfas Emes answers the question by citing to the language in Bereishis 45:1 where it says that Yosef revealed himself because he could not hold back. This implies that if Yosef could have held back, then he would have done so. But was Yosef a sadist? No, but Yosef realized that the brothers had to go through this suffering in order to save the Jewish people from other worse troubles which would have come upon them. Yosef knew this and that all the problems would pay dividends and the Jews would be saved. Yosef could not hold back any longer - but if he could, then the Beis Hamikdash would not have been destroyed and the Jews would not have been sent into exile. This was why Yosef cried - because he knew that if he had been able to hold back, the Jews would have been saved from future troubles, including the destruction of the Batei Mikdash.

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, January 1, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Blue Moon Cocoa Brown Ale


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Blue Moon Cocoa Brown Ale.

As in previous years, this year's Blue Moon Brewmaster's Sample Box includes a new beer. For 2016-2017, the new brew is the Cocoa Brown Ale.

This brew is a typical American Brown Ale to which they added some Belgian Chocolate Malts to bring out the richness of the beer. The beer has a nutty flavor, somewhat reminiscent of the Saranac Season's Best, but with a bit of hop bite. The beer pours a rich brown - not as dark as a Guinness, but definitely on the darker side.

I tried this beer by itself and also together with some rich chocolate cake. The beer does not have the added chocolate nibs that a Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock has introduced to the brew process (BTW - The Star-K confirmed to me that the Sam Adams Chocolate Bock is DAIRY again this year). Since the beer does not have the additive it was a decent pairing with the chocolate cake, but you can also drink this on its own without being overcome by the cloying sweetness of some sugar aided brews.

If you have tried this brew with a pairing which worked for you, please post it in the comments below.

Blue Moon Cocoa Brown Ale is certified kosher by the Orthodox Union, as is every other current variety of beer produced by Blue Moon. For the experts take on this beer, please click here beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/306/258357.

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 are reading this post more than six months after it was written, please note that it is possible that the product is no longer still certified kosher. To verify that the product is still certified kosher, please click on the kosher beers list link on the top left corner of the blog.

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 29, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Mikeitz

The following is a brief summary of some of 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 41:50-52, the Torah recounts how Yosef had two sons before the years of famine befell Egypt and further explains the rationale for each of the names of the boys. The Torah states in 41:51 that Yosef named his older son Menashe because Hashem made him forget his father's house. The Torah then states in 41:52 that Yosef named his younger son Efraim because Hashem made him fruitful.

The explanation for Efraim's name is fairly obvious in that it is an expression of Yosef's gratitude. But it is more difficult to understand why Yosef is happy that he has forgotten his father's home. 

R' Frand offered two explanations for Yosef's thinking in naming Menashe. The first explanation was said in the name of the sefer Rivid Yosef who states that Yosef was not saying he was happy that he forgot his father's house. Instead, Yosef was expressing gratitude to Hashem for allowing Yosef to forget the traumatic experiences from his father's house wherein his brothers hated him to the point that they cast him into a pit and then sold him as a slave. When a person endures a traumatic experience, it can have ramifications which last many decades and scar the person for life. Yosef recognized that Hashem allowed him to forget the experiences.

The second explanation given by R' Frand was said in the name of R' Yisrael Salanter, who stated that Yosef expressed gratitude to Hashem for granting Yosef the strength to deal with the incident and put it in the rear view mirror. But how does one do that?

R' Frand explained the concept by quoting the Meorei Ohr, who told a story about a young woman who attended a seminar. When the speaker concluded, the young woman went over to tell him her story. She said that she was 30 years old and did not date because of scarring from a prior experience. When she was 20 years old she was engaged to a boy who broke the engagement one week before the wedding. But what was even worse for her was that she later learned from the caterer that the boy had told the caterer two weeks before the wedding that he was cancelling the wedding. The girl was devastated as the boy already knew that he would be backing out, but was more concerned with getting his deposit back than telling his fiancee that it was over.

The speaker said to the girl - you should not be upset about this - Hashem did you a tremendous tova. Could you imagine if you had actually gone through with the wedding and married this miserable excuse for a human being? If this was the way that he conducted himself, you are better off that your relationship with him ended before marriage.

This was the attitude which Yosef had about the traumatic events in his father's house. He recognized that although he previously endured a difficult time in his father's home, Hashem had put him in the position of viceroy in Egypt for a good reason - because he needed to come down to Egypt and help them avoid the famine. Yosef later expressed this to his brothers in Parshas Vayechi (Bereishis 50:20) wherein he stated to his brothers - although you intended bad to befall me, Hashem intended this for good...so that a great nation could be sustained.

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!