Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sunday Night Suds - Saranac Oatmeal Stout

This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Saranac Oatmeal Stout.

The Oatmeal Stout is one of the two new beers in the Beers of Winter Mix box. Along with winter staples Seasons Best (reviewed here  https://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2009/05/sunday-night-suds-saranac-brown-ale.html) and Big Moose Ale (reviewed here  https://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2009/11/sunday-night-suds-saranac-big-moose-ale.html), Saranac has also introduced the Oatmeal Stout and Clouded Dream IPA.

The Oatmeal Stout style is one of my favorite winter beers but there have only been two which have been under kosher supervision (at least by my memory) - the Stockyard Oatmeal Stout (reviewed here https://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2010/08/sunday-night-suds-stockyard-oatmeal.html ) and Blue Moon's Cappuccino Oatmeal Stout (reviewed here  https://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2015/12/sunday-night-suds-blue-moon-cappuccino.html) which has not been produced in recent years.

As explained by the gurus at BA:
The addition of oatmeal adds a smooth, rich body to the Oatmeal Stout. This beer style is dark brown to black in color. Roasted malt character is caramel-like and chocolate-like, and should be smooth and not bitter. Coffee-like roasted barley and malt aromas are prominent. This low- to medium-alcohol style is packed with darker malt flavors and a rich and oily body from oatmeal.
The Saranac Oatmeal Stout is true to form in color as it poured jet black with a bit of tan lacing which was still present an hour later. The stout character was there and I could taste a little bit of the oatmeal, but I wanted more. I did not pair this with dinner as Mrs KB and I had a program to attend after dinner and I did not have my brew until after we returned. But with three of each style in the box, there is a cholent waiting for this brew.


Saranac Oatmeal Stout 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 has begun to brew many different varieties off site, so check bottles for kosher certification from the Va'ad of Detroit.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about the brew, please follow this link https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/99/26619.

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).

Lastly, 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 15, 2018

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayeitzei

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 quoting the famous Medrash in Eicha in which the patriarchs individually prayed that Hashem would end the galus. This began with Avraham praying and saying that in the z'chus of his sacrificing Yitzchak, Hashem should end the galus and Hashem said, no. Yitzchak then prayed and said that the galus should end in the z'chus that he did not challenge his father over the akeidah and Hashem said, no. Ya'akov too prayed and asked for the end of galus in the z'chus of his actions in the house of Lavan and Hashem said, no. Even Moshe prayed and asked that the galus end in the z'chus that he led the Jews in the desert for 40 years and Hashem said, no. Until Rochel prayed and said that the galus should end in the z'chus that she gave her sister the signs and helped her trick Ya'akov so that Leah would not be embarrassed, and for this Hashem agreed that there would be an end.

Although I had heard this Medrash from R' Frand before, he added a little more to his discussion of Rochel's plea. He mentioned that Rochel said to Hashem - I loved my husband and we made signs so that my father would not be able to trick Ya'akov. But I had rachmanos on my sister and gave her the signs so that she would not be embarrassed. And I am flesh and blood and I had rachmanos on my sister. You are not flesh and blood, but You are jealous of the idol which was brought into the first Beis Hamikdash? Hashem responded - I will have rachmanos and there will be an end to the galus.

R' Frand quoted R' Elya Baruch Finkel who asked - if Akeidas Yitzchak was not enough to convince Hashem to end the galus, why do we pray on Rosh Hashanah that the Akediah should be remembered with mercy? Instead we should pray that Rochel's giving the signs to her sister should be remembered!

R' Frand gave an introduction to his answer by first noting that Rochel was answered because she was m'vater. And a person does not get credit for being m'vater if they are wrong, they get rewarded for remaining quiet when they are right.  This was why Rochel was answered, because she brought a tzarah - a rival - into her house and was m'vater on her husband. R' Frand observed that a tzarah is a difficult situation to deal with and it was for this reason that R' Gershon banned multiple wives for Ashekenzic jewry. 

Furthermore, by allowing Leah to marry first, Rochel put herself in the vulnerable position of being the first wife's sister. According to post Sinai law, a man is not allowed to marry sisters and must divorce the second. The meforshim are bothered by how Ya'akov who kept the entire Torah could have married sisters, and the Ramban answers that he kept the entire Torah inside the land of Israel...which is why Rochel died as they were approaching the land of Israel. By giving the signs to her sister, she hastened her own death and even caused herself to be buried separate from her beloved. 

R' Frand also observed that in the story of the duda'im flowers, when Leah says to her in Bereishis 30:15 - that "you have taken my husband", Rochel again is quiet when she could have said - how do you have the nerve to say "my husband." The Ba'alei Musar learn that Leah did not even know that she was being taught the signs which were the code words uttered in their marital chamber of nidah, challah and hadlakas ha'ner. These were taught to her surreptitiously by Rochel, who kept the true purpose from Leah as to not embarrass her. 

R' Frand stated that this is the reason that we don't mention Rochel and we do mention the akeidah. The akeidah itself was a greater zechus for klal yisrael, but the act of being m'vater was parallel to the situation that Hashem was k'vaychol dealing with. Rochel said to Hashem - this idol cannot be a greater tzarah to You then me allowing my sister to marry by husband and Hashem responded yes, you were merachem and so will I.

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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Toldos

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 27:9 the Torah recites Rivka's instruction to her son Ya'akov to take two goats to be used as the food for Yitzchak. The Medrash Rabbah writes that this instruction from Rivkah included the added component that the goats would be good for him now and in the future. It would be good for him now because he would receive the beracha from his father and good for the Jews in the future as they will bring two goats on Yom Kippur.

But what is the connection between the berachos that Ya'akov received here and the avodah on Yom Kippur?

R' Frand next quoted another Medrash Rabbah on the pasuk in Bereishis 27:37 which states that when Eisav heard that Ya'akov had received the beracha, he let out a terrible and bitter scream. The Medrash Rabbah quotes R' Chanina who states that anyone who says that Hashem is a Vatran is mistaken, since Ya'akov's descendants were punished for his causing Eisav to have a terrible scream as Mordechai was caused to let out a bitter great scream in Megillas Esther.

Again, what is the connection? Additionally, the Torah states in Bereshis 27:37 that Yitzchak trembled greatly when he realized what had happened. So why was Ya'akov not punished for this?

R' Frand answered by quoting the Netziv who states that there is nothing that Hashem creates and no middah or aspect which is truly and completely bad. By way of example, radiation is deadly and one needs protection from radiation. Yet, radiation in certain controlled settings can cure cancer. Similarly, the powers of Tumah have a specific place and are even the subject of a sacrifice on Yom Kippur (the Se'ir L'Azazel). While no one can independently sacrifice to Tumah, on Yom Kippur there is a direction to do so. 

Ya'akov was directed by his mother to do an act of deception. By linking this to the Sei'r L'Azazel, of Yom Kippur, Rivka was instructing him that this is good for you now and you should know that sometimes there is a time and a need for the Kochos Ha'Tumah. 

So why was he punished? Because when a person does an Aveirah Lishma it must be done without personal gain or the slightest ulterior motive. A person is required to be truthful when asked about a potential shidduch, but that does not mean that he should expose and humiliate the candidate. Although we don't understand how, apparently Ya'akov's act was not 100% lishma and for this reason, Mordechai was caused to let out his own great scream thousands of years later. However, Ya'akov had no intent in any way to harm his father or personal gain from causing him fear, thus he is not punished for causing his father to tremble.

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Thursday, November 1, 2018

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Chaye Sarah

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.

At the tail end of the 67 pesukim in which the Torah tells the story of Eliezer' quest to find a bride for Yitzchak, the Torah recounts the blessing which Lavan gives his sister. In Bereishis 24:60 Lavan blesses his sister and says that she should be "L'alfei Rivava". But even beyond wishing that her offspring multiply, he adds that they should inherit their enemies.

R' Frand noted that Minhag Yisrael has developed that the father of the bride gives this blessing to his daughter at the badekin (although the Kitzur writes that the elders of the city give the beracha, the concept is the same). But the meforshim struggle with why this beracha is given. Lavan is certainly not a good guy, why are his words the beracha that is given on this joyous day? R' Frand noted that the Mahashal would not say Mah Tovu when entering a shul because those words were uttered by Bila'am Harasha. So why is this our minhag?

R' Frand offered a solution that perhaps it has to do with Lavan offering the beracha of multiplying, even though he was not happy about the shidduch. He theorized, what would be the reaction of a secular man who saw his sister marrying a chassid and entering that lifestyle? And yet with that, and the pain which he felt at seeing this, he still gave her this beracha for success.

Perhaps this is the reason that we use this beracha. because if Lavan could look past his personal feelings and wish his sister (prophetically) that her offspring would inherit its enemies, we hope that our children will only have the best for them as well.

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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sunday Night Suds - Samuel Adams Octoberfest


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Samuel Adams Octoberfest Lager.

As I mentioned last week when reviewing the Samuel Adams Spruce Lager (reviewed here http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2018/10/sunday-night-suds-samuel-adams-spruce.html) I was shocked when I realized that I had never reviewed the Octoberfest, even though I have had more than a few of them over the last twenty or so years that they have been making it. But somehow I must have missed it, so no time like the present. Especially while it is still October!

Octoberfest beers fall in the Marzen category which used to mean that before refrigeration they would brew these beers in March and then put in what passed for "cold storage" through the spring and summer. B'H that's not the process any longer, but the style of beer which leans on the malts for its flavor is still going strong. This beer is no exception and the caramel notes of the malt are prominent. The alcohol content at 5.3% is on the low end of the scale for an Octoberfest, but the beer does not taste "light."

The Octoberfest 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/35/102.

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).

Lastly, 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, October 25, 2018

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayera

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 this week's Parsha, the Torah repeats Avraham's conversation with Hashem, wherein he davens to save the people of Sodom. The Medrash Rabbah ties the prayer to a pasuk in Tehillim 45:8 which reads "You love righteousness and hate wickedness, therefore has Hashem, your Hashem anointed you with oil of joy from among your peers." The Medrash Rabbah states that the subject of the love of righteousness was Avraham who prayed for Hashem to save Sodom. In so doing Hashem was saying even though Avraham himself loves what is right and hates what is wrong, when Avraham petitioned on behalf of the people of Sodom, you love to give a zechus to save My creations and hate to discuss their evil deeds.

R' Frand opined that one would think that since Hashem was about to destroy Sodom, he would say to Avraham - what are you doing? But even though that was Hashem's decree, he praised Avraham for trying to save His creations. And when a person tries to teach a zechus for Klal Yisrael, Hashem truly appreciates.

R' Frand mentioned a story involving R' Levi Yitzchak M'Barditchev. He once passed by a Jew who was oiling a wagon while wearing tefillin. While other people looked on in disgust, saying how can he oil the wagon, while wearing tefillin, R' Levi Yitzchak said - who are like Your people, even when they oil the wagon they wear your tefillin. Hashem appreciates this limud.

R' Frand also told a story about R' Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld who once walked by a Chiloni school and saw children playing in the playground. He gave a beracha - that Hashem should multiply them by a thousand. The people who were with him asked how he could say this? He responded that he was talking to Hashem, but when talking to them you give them mussar. But there is no contradiction. To them, we want change. But Hashem loves when we praise His children to him.

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!