Monday, April 27, 2015

Belated Sunday Night Suds - Leinenkugel's Big Butt Dopplebock


This week's (belated) Sunday Night Suds looks at Leinenkugel's Big Butt Dopplebock.

[Although life sometimes makes blogging challenging and family or other obligations may come first, I always try to get an SNS and a TPT post on the blog so that people will be aware of the newest kosher certified beer and will be able to enjoy it with a vort at their Shabbos table. Unfortunately, this Sunday my internet/phone provider prevented me from posting on Sunday Night and as such this post is being written on Monday.]

Yes, this is truly strange sounding beer. But in order to understand why they named the beer they way they did, an introduction to the beer style is needed.

As explained by the good folks at BA:

Bocks--you know, those beers with goats on the label--are relatively strong German lagers. Doppelbocks--as the name might suggest--are typically even stronger and contain enough malty goodness that they’ve been considered a meal in a glass for centuries. Generally they have a very full-bodied flavor and are darker than their little Bock brothers and sisters and a higher level of alcohol too. They range in color from dark amber to nearly black, and dark versions often have slight chocolate or roasted characters.

Well, once you know that Bocks are linked to goats, its not so far fetched that Leinenkugel used this moniker for their beer as they explain on their website that the "beer gets its name from an icon of the Bock style, the goat, and while they're known to butt heads over disputes, we still prefer to just talk it over a beer."

I have to say that I very much enjoyed this beer, but it is not true to the style. The beer was not full bodied and although it was dark in color, the alcohol content (5.7% abv) was low for the style. Still, there was some chocolate character that had me craving a home made chocolate cookie and Mrs KB was willing to oblige with a frozen one (tastes much better than it sounds).

Leinenkugel Big Butt Dopplebock is certified kosher by the Orthodox Union, and has an OU on the label. To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this brew, please follow this link beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/710/2464

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, April 23, 2015

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshios Tazria-Metzorah

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 tonight's parsha vort by quoting from the rules which apply to a metzorah. The afflicted person must tear his clothes, not take a hair cut and must sit with his with his cloak pulled down over his head almost to his mustache.

Rabbi Frand observed that the rules for a metzorah are very similar to those for an aveil, and asked why are the two classes of people given similar halachos. He hypothesized that it could be due to the fact that a metzorah is compared to a dead person, but if that was correct, the metzorah's family should be observing these rules, not the metzorah himself.

Rabbi Frand answered this question by quoting from R Shach ztl who in turn repeated something in the name of R' Issur Zalman. In Megillas Esther, we read about how the Jews fasted, cried and had eulogies. It is understandable why the Jews fasted and cried out - this is what is normally done during a time of fast when Jews are praying for forgiveness and doing teshuva. But why were they conducting eulogies?

R' Shach answered in the name of R' Issur Zalman that when a person does teshuva he needs to consider his life and analyze which aspects of his life were less than productive. Once he has made this review, he can move forward and make changes.

R' Frand opined that this also might be the reason that the metzorah sits outside the camp and others say "tamei tamei" when he passes by. This is done so that others can pray for him, because he is incapable of praying for himself as he is compared to being dead. He sits outside the camp and mourns for the poor choices that he has made and contemplated improvement.

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 19, 2015

Sunday Night Suds - Henry Hotspur's Hard Pressed Cider



This week's Sunday Night Suds takes a bit of a break from beer to look at the Henry Hotspur's Hard Pressed Cider (HHHPC).

I had first learned of HHHPC when I received updated letters of certification from the Va'ad of Detroit which indicated that Gordon Biersch was producing a kosher hard apple cider. At the time I was very excited about this turn of events because the Angry Orchard line of hard cider had just dropped their kosher certification (as of the most recent Star-K LOC there are some Angry Orchard products which are back under kosher certification, but that is an extremely recent development). However, I was not able to locate any HHHPC on the East Coast and could not find much evidence that they had even been sold outside of select markets on the West Coast.

Fast forward to late fall 2014 and I started to receive e-mails from people who had bought the HHHPC because it had been on my kosher beers list. I started to do some research and learned that it was now available in some mid-Atlantic Trader Joe stores. So when our family drove down to Virginia Beach for Yeshiva Week this past January, Mrs KB and I made a stop in a Trader Joe store and scored a couple of bottles of the HHHPC.

The first thing that struck me about the HHHPC is the size of the bottle. I was expecting this to be a 12oz bottle like most other TJ beers but it is sold in a 22 oz for less than 3.00 a bottle. This meant that we could serve it at a shabbos meal with other families so that they could experience it as well.

I cracked open a bottle of the HHHPC at a Shabbos lunch a few weeks before Pesach and passed some around for comments and thoughts. Personally, I felt that it was not sweet enough to be a hard cider, but I was curious about what others thought of it. Well, I have to report that other than Mrs KB and I, the HHHPC met with some decent reviews. People liked the apple flavor and did not detect the alcohol content. I concur that the HHHPC did not have a strong alcohol flavor and I did like that it was a little tart, but I still felt that it was not sweet enough, as compared to some other hard apple ciders like the Smith & Forge and the previously kosher (and now once again) Angry Orchard products.

The HHHPC is certified kosher by the Va'ad of Detroit but there is no kosher symbol on  the label. If you would like the LOC, please email me and I will respond in kind.

If you've tried this 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, April 16, 2015

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.

R' Frand first quoted from the Parsha's discussion of the tragic death of the sons of Aharon, Moshe's subsequent conversation with Aharon in which he said that the Mishkan would become holy through the death of the Kedoshim and Aharon's stoic reaction.

R' Frand prefaced his dvar Torah by saying that he wanted to say a vort from his 5th Grade Rebbi - R' Chaim Tzvi Hollander (who is still Rebbi in Eretz Yisrael!) who recounted the following explanation in the name of someone else. He stated that after the Holocaust there were Jews who lost all hope and their desire to be Jews. A Rav visited them and said a vort based on the Rashbam who had a different take on Bkrovai Akadesh in which Rashi explained that with the death of Nadav and Avihu the Mikdash would be holy. The Rashbam explains that Aharon did not want to serve as Kohain Gadol because of his pain. Moshe responded that by Aharon and his remaining sons putting away their personal pain and continuing to serve and make a Kiddush Hashem - that is Bkrovai Akadesh. The Rashbam explains that by continuing to be Ovdei Hashem despite seeing a terrible tragedy - they make a Kiddush Hashem.

R' Frand next quoted from an undated letter of the Chofetz Chaim which R' Frand said was from the other side of the spectrum. The letter was printed in a sefer of the Chofetz Chaim in which he wrote that he was pained by the fighting between Rabbis and their public articles/pamphlets in which they criticize and scorn each other's position. As a result, the entire Galus is lit up with the fire of machlokes and newspapers are filled with stories of the fighting and even Israel has fallen into the trap of machlokes.

The Chofetz Chaim wrote that these people who fight - even l'shem Shamayim - in the end, the human condition makes the dispute personal.

R' Frand tied this thought into the reason that Jews mourn during sefirah for the death of R' Akiva's 24,000 students who did not show respect for one and other. But why did they die? The failure to show respect is wrong and a lav in the Torah - but not something that is Chayav Missa! 

The Chofetz Chaim answered that people were Chayav Missa because they created a Chillul Hashem - that people looked and said - how can these people, how can Rabbis act like this? And the sin of Chillul Hashem is punishable by death. 

This is what we need to do during Sefirah - making Kiddush Hashem and avoiding Chillul Hashem.

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 12, 2015

Sunday Night Suds - New Belgium Blue Paddle Pilsner


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at New Belgium's Blue Paddle Pilsner.

Since its been quite a while since I reviewed a Pilsner and even longer since I defined the term, I thought it best to begin with the a quote from the gurus at BA who explain that:

The birth of Pilsner beer can be traced back to its namesake, the ancient city of Plzen (or Pilsen) which is situated in the western half of the Czech Republic in what was once Czechoslovakia and previously part of the of Bohemian Kingdom. Pilsner beer was first brewed back in the 1840's when the citizens, brewers and maltsters of Plzen formed a brewer's guild and called it the People's Brewery of Pilsen. 
The Czech Pilsner, or sometimes known as the Bohemian Pilsner, is light straw to golden color and crystal clear. Hops are very prevalent usually with a spicy bitterness and or a spicy floral flavor and aroma, notably one of the defining characteristics of the Saaz hop. Smooth and crisp with a clean malty palate, many are grassy. Some of the originals will show some archaic yeast characteristics similar to very mild buttery or fusel (rose like alcohol) flavors and aromas.

The Blue Paddle poured an expected pale yellow with a good deal of lacing which was still present well after the pour. The beer had a little extra carbonation which was somewhat surprising in a New Belgium product.

The spicy bitterness was prevalent but not overpowering and the beer although a bit watery and overcarbonated was crisp and clean. This is one of those beers that you can pair with almost anything - not because the flavors will necessarily meld with the dish, but because the flavor profile is soft enough that it wont clash with your dinner.

New Belgium Blue Paddle Pilsner is under the Kosher Supervision of the Scroll-K of Colorado. Although the beer does not bear the kosher symbol on the label, the Scroll-K kosher symbol can usually be found on the bottom of the six pack holder (as I bought this is as part of a mix your own six pack, I did not see the holder, but I have found that to be the case with all the NB beers under the Scroll-K).

Please note that 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 Blue Paddle Pilsner, please follow this link beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/192/933. 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!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Night Suds New Belgium Frambozen


This week's Sunday Night Suds (the last Sunday Night Suds before the Passover holiday) looks at New Belgium Frambozen.

I admit it. I was conflicted tonight. Over Shabbos we had company for Friday Night and Shabbos lunch and we had shared a bottle of the Henry Hotspur Hard Pressed Cider (certified kosher by the Va'ad of Detroit) with our lunch company. I wanted to review the Hotspur Hard Cider, but I also had a few bottles of the New Belgium Frambozen that I had picked up in Virginia and which had a best before date of mid-April 2015. Since this would be the last Sunday Night Suds post before Pesach, I decided to chill a bottle of the Frambozen and crack it open this evening with my daf.

Boy did I get this one wring. The Frambozen bills itself as a Raspberry Brown Ale, but for me it struck out on all three accounts. My initial sip revealed a small amount of tart raspberry - not enough to cloyingly sweet, but also not subtle enough to meld with the Brown Ale. However, the Brown Ale was not assertive and I found little malt and no hops to speak of.

The resulting beer was like drinking flavored seltzer - you know that there is an essence of something in the bottle, but its not strong enough for you to figure out what it is without reading the label. Although in this case I knew what I was drinking, I was not impressed with it and found myself wondering if I had the willpower to finish the bottle instead of pouring it out.

Oh well, even a great brewery like New Belgium can have a skunk every once in a while.

New Belgium Frambozen is under the Kosher Supervision of the Scroll-K of Colorado. Although the beer does not bear the kosher symbol on the label, the Scroll-K kosher symbol can usually be found on the bottom of the six pack holder (as I bought this is as part of a mix your own six pack, I did not see the holder, but I have found that to be the case with all the NB beers under the Scroll-K).

Please note that 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 Frambozen, please follow this link beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/192/1910. 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!