Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Baltika #4 Dark Lager


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Baltika #4 Dark Lager.

To me, the Baltika Brewery was a mythical place which found itself on the OK list of kosher certified products, but I had never seen it in the United States with hashgacha...until I found myself in Oliver's a beer store beyond belief located in Albany, NY.

What was I doing in Albany? It was a work related trip, but every time that I travel to a city outside of my local area, I check BA for well reviewed beer stores where you can mix a six or buy singles for a decent price. So when I got sent up to Albany in February I did a search and found that Oliver's had excellent selection and prices and knew that I had to make a stop. In truth, I actually stopped in twice, the first time on the next to last day I was going to be there, but the staff talked me out of buying that day because it was going to be in the 20s overnight and they thought the beer would freeze. So I came back the next day after bought the beer we were going to use for shalach manos, along with many other bottles which have been (and will be) reviewed on this blog.

The Baltika #4 calls itself a dark lager, and there are some darker wood/caramel aspects to the brew. The beer poured (from an oversized 16.9 oz bottle) was more amber than a traditional lager and there was some malt and breadiness. Having said that, the flavors of the brew were not overly complex and the alcohol content (5.6% abv) was in line with the style of beer.

The Baltika #4 Dark Lager is under kosher supervision by the OK, but I am not certain if every beer produce by Baltika is under kosher supervision. For a list of the Baltika brews currently under supervision, please click on the link on the left side of my home page for my latest Kosher Beer List.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about Baltika #4 Dark Lager click here beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/401/2235.

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).

Please Note - 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, April 20, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Shemini

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 Vayikra 10:1-3, the Torah tells the story of the death of Nadav and Avihu who were killed after bringing an "Esh Zarah" (loosely translated as a strange fire) after which their father Aharon remained silent. In discussing Aharon's silence, the Torah uses the term "Vayidom". 

R' Frand commented that this tragedy would have killed any simcha that was related to the underlying event. He surmised about what people's reaction would be if after a new shul was opened and people were celebrating, a beam fell and killed someone. People would never look at the shul the same way. And since they were two sons of Aharon the Kohain Gadol, it would be an even greater tragedy.

Moshe then tells Aharon that I will be come close to those who sanctify me. Rashi explains that Moshe told Aharon that Moshe knew that this had to happen - that the Mishkan had to become sanctified through the impact on someone close to Hashem and I knew it would be either me or you. Now I see that your sons Nadav and Avihu are even greater than you or I.

But what did Moshe mean that something had to happen? Did he mean that a tragedy had to happen? Why did there need to be tragedy?

R' Frand answered by quoting the Duvno Maggid who gave a mashal that a country decided to build a capital city for the country. They brought in an expert architect and the finest materials. They also wanted to build a world class hospital with the best and latest technology. Of course, the hospital needed the greatest doctor in the world. They built the city and the hospital and they inaugurated it. Someone developed a headache and he went into the hospital. The world renowned doctor treated the man personally, but a few days later he died --from a headache! The board of directors for the hospital did an investigation, during which the chief doctor got up and said -- this is the greatest thing that could have happened. He explained that without this event, people would think that they had no need to take care of themselves because they had a great hospital and doctor. Now that this person died, they would know that they still needed to take care of themselves.

The Duvno Maggid then explained the nimshal --the Jews in the desert knew that they were getting the Mishkan, a place where they bring sacrifices. People would think --we can do whatever we want and the sacrifices will be brought and forgiveness will be granted. Moshe's message was that people can't think that the Mishkan will attain forgiveness for them without any concern for their own actions. In fact, the Mishkan itself could kill them if they were not careful with how they acted in the Mishkan. R' Frand remarked that it was akin to radiation - it can cure, but it can kill if those who use it are not careful.

R' Frand also quoted the Ba'al HaTurim who states that the word Vayidom appears twice in Tanach. Here in Vayikra, as well as when Yehoshua made the sun stand still in the battle in Gidon.

But how are the two connected? In Gidon the sun kept shining, but here Aharon was silent.

R' Frand quoted R' Yehuda Klein in a sefer called Kol Yehuda [or Kol Aryeh, I'm not sure]. He cited to the story of the creation of the sun and moon and the Medrash that they were the same size and that Hashem told them to reduce and the moon eventually reduced itself and the sun remained HaMaor HaGadol. 

The Kol Aryeh explained that when the moon complained that the sun and moon were the same size and that both should not wear that crown, the sun should have responded, or at the very least said - lets go to a din Torah. However, the sun kept its mouth shut and was silent. Thereafter the sun became known as the Maor HaGadol, because it did not argue with the moon.

This also links to the gemara which states that the aluv who hears insults and does not respond, is loved by Hashem like the sun in its might. Why? Because the sun should have stuck up for itself, but it stayed silent. This is the strength of the sun. And this was also the strength of Aharon --he kept silent --an attribute that he learned from the sun.

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, April 6, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits and Pesach Crossover

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.

Rabbi Frand began the vort by quoting the first of the four questions which asks that on all other nights we eat "Chametz U Matza" but on Pesach, only Matza. The first question is usually translated as "on all other nights we can eat Chametz or Matza, but on this night it is all Matza." Rabbi Frand remarked that this is not quite accurate as the actual language would lead to a translation of on all other nights we eat Chametz and Matza. However, we do not usually eat both Chametz and Matza with dinner [he's never been in my house on a Shabbos when Mrs KB gives me a challah and a matza to make Hamotzi]. 

But if the correct statement is truly Chametz or Matza it should say that, much like the last question which states that on all other nights we either eat sitting up or reclining, using the term "bain". If the intent was Chametz or Matza, it should have said "bain Chametz U'Matza."

R' Frand answered by quoting the Sefer Binyan Ariel who writes that the phrase is accurate as we do eat Chametz and Matza. He explained that there is a Karban Todah (which is mentioned in this week's parsha) which is an animal offering along with bread. Some of the bread is Chametz and some of the bread is Matza. The Korban Pesach is similar to the Korban Todah as both are eaten for a lesser time than the Shelamim, but the Korban Pesach is accompanied by only Matza. So when the Mishna writes that all year long we eat Chametz and Matza, it refers to our Karban Todah, but on Pesach our Karban is accompanied solely by Matza because that was what our forefathers ate when they left Egypt.

R' Frand then continued to develop the vort by quoting R' Avraham Bukspan from Florida who explains why the normal karban has both and the karban Pesach does not. He quoted R' Hirsch who explains that Matza is bread in its crudest form, without human intervention ---its just flour and water. However, Chametz is man's manipulation of the natural elements which yields a more sophisticated product than the original elements. 

When a person brings a Karban Todah to thank Hashem there are two elements - recognizing that Hashem is the one who saved you, without human involvement. But there also is a human element in which you are involved and you have to do your hishtadlus, effort to make sure that you find the correct doctor and see him regularly. Similarly, a person on a sinking ship has to get into the lifeboat and not say "Hashem will save me."

A person who brings the Todah recognizes that there is involvement of Hashem, along with his own efforts to achieve the specific result. But a Karban Pesach is all Hashem. We were ordered to sit in our houses and do nothing, while the Malach HaMaves roamed the street. So we eat the Matza and recognize that it was just Hashem who saved us, without any human involvement.

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, April 2, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - New Belgium Whizbang Blonde Ale


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at New Belgium Whizbang Hoppy Blonde Ale.

This beer is another of the recent limited releases from the New Belgium brewery (I believe that they call this a "special release"). I picked this up on a trip to Maryland for a wedding in January and have not seen it in the NY Metro area. 

When I saw this bottle I was intrigued by the classification they gave it as the terms "hoppy" and "blonde ale" are oxymoronic (or in the words of the gemara "tarta d'sasra"). Blonde Ales are typically subdued in their bitterness and light in color. I had never seen nor even heard of a blonde ale that was anything bolder than a typical Kolsch.

So after chilling in this in the refrigerator for almost a day, I opened this on Shabbos and shared it at lunch with Mrs KB and our friend Wayne F. The beer poured a darker, richer yellow than I expected, almost like the Crayola color maize. There was some hoppiness there with a bit of bitter, but the hops were pronounced without being as bitter as an IPA. There was some breadiness as well. 

If I had to classify this, I would call it a cross-over between a typical blonde ale and an IPA. In fact, if you are looking to broaden your beer education by wading into IPAs, this would not be a bad choice to start with.

The Whizbang Hoppy Blonde Ale is under kosher supervision by the Scroll-K/Va'ad of Denver, but not every brew produced by New Belgium is under kosher supervision. For a list of the New Belgium brews currently under supervision, please click on the link on the left side of my home page for my latest Kosher Beer List.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about New Belgium Whizbang Hoppy Blonde Ale click here beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/192/246979.

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).

Please Note - 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, March 30, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayikra

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 began the parsha vort by discussing the karban oleh v'yoraid - a sacrifice which varies in its offering based upon the wealth of the donor. A poor man can give a karban which is a mincha (meal offering) while a wealthy person offers a cow.

The Gemara in Menachos 110a states that whether the person spends $2,000 on a sacrifice or $2, it is all the same to Hashem, as long as he has the proper intent.

R' Frand quoted the Taz who asks why the wealthy man does not have a better stature? If they both have the same pure intent, shouldn't the man who spent more have a higher stature?

R' Frand answered by making what he called an "updated" reference to the answer of R' Bunim M'Parshischa (sp?). There are two people who attempt to make a 2 PM flight. The first man gets to the airport 90 minutes before the flight and sits around in the departure lounge until it is time to board. The second man barely makes it to the gate before they are about to close the plane's door.

The second man sits down next to the first, who asks him --what took you so long? He responds -- what difference does it make, I made the flight.

R' Frand remarked that R' Bunim said that all Hashem wants from a karban is to bring a person close to Hashem. Some people need to spend $2,000 to feel close to Hashem, while others are able to do so by spending $2. But to Hashem, all that matters is that the donor has "made the flight" in that he feels close to Hashem. As long as the person has made the flight, it does not matter if he got there two hours before or two minutes before. As long as the person feels a true connection with Hashem, it does not matter what he spent to get there.

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, March 26, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - New Belgium Cherry Almond Ale


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at New Belgium Cherry Almond Ale.

As my family knows, I am not a fan of cherry flavored alcoholic products. The Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat Ale is one of least favorite beers (outside of shandys) and similar cherry flavored alcohol products remind me of Robitussin.

So when I brought home a six pack of New Belgium Cherry Almond Ale, my purchase was met with a healthy dose of skepticism. But after chilling a bottle (or two) and opening it, Mrs KB and I discovered that the New Belgium Cherry Almond Ale was not a typical cherry flavored alcoholic product.

The beer poured a dark brown, almost cola like color. The first few sips evoked thoughts of black ales with their rich nutty flavors melding with the hops. There is some extra sweetness, but its not cloying. Additional sips had a bit of alcohol taste, but again, not overwhelming. The carbonation was medium in intensity and worked well to bring out the nutty flavor of the brew.

Although hard to find in six packs (its more often found in the mixed Folly 12 pack), the Cherry Almond Ale is worth the effort if you have ride a few extra miles to find it. I would recommend pairing it with steaks or other charred meats.

The Cherry Almond Ale is under kosher supervision by the Scroll-K/Va'ad of Denver, but not every brew produced by New Belgium is under kosher supervision. For a list of the New Belgium brews currently under supervision, please click on the link on the left side of my home page for my latest Kosher Beer List.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about New Belgium Cherry Almond Ale click here beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/192/263324.

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).

Please Note - 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!