By Joe Ruvel · February 16th, 2014 · No Comments
I am not a cider person. Pretty much every time I try cider I don’t enjoy it. Usually it is just too sweet. But I think mainly I have been trying pretty bad ciders. So far on this trip I have tried a few apple ciders and some straight apple juice and actually enjoyed both a lot.
Just like anything else, you need to find the type of something that you like. I hate sugary sweet apple juice or cider. But make it taste tart and I am a huge fan. Oddly one of the favorite apple drinks I tried was the companies “medium” variety. It tasted like lots of fresh apples thrown into my mouth in one go. Much better I thought then their “tangy” one. So I guess you never know. This juice was made by Llewellyns Orchard. Great stuff if you find yourself in Ireland and can try it.
Some ciders remind me a lot of sour beers. They hit you right up front and then have a nice aftertaste. They also go great with some foods like turkey or lamb or at least it did for us during Thanksgiving. I know very little about cider and so don’t really know if this is a great version of this style but I liked it a lot. French Sparkling Apple, ‘Antoinette’, Dry, Duche Longueville was what we drank with dinner on Thanksgiving. You should be able to find this is the states.
Finally there is the craft cider that sits right next to all the good Irish craft beers. This stuff was like a slightly sweet saison. Great flavor and just delicious. I tried a full bottle of MacIvors medium and liked it but I got to have a taste of the dry and that is where the gold is at. I can’t imagine this is available in the states but you never know – one day it could be. Or look for good local cider – it might actually be better then you think.
Tags: Ireland · Non-Beer Beverages · Travel
By Joe Ruvel · January 16th, 2014 · No Comments
Galway, Ireland was very good to us. It is a wonderful place to spend Christmas and New Years. They are serious about their holiday fun in Galway and that of course means a good amount of drinking too. It helps the craic (fun or good times) as they would say here. And we had some great beverages this holiday season. And thankfully we were able to meet some amazing people to share those drinks with. Here are some of my favorite beverages and memories.
Ah Guinness – I have had many pints of the black over the past few months. During the holidays it was great to be able to check out a new pub by just nursing a Guinness for thirty minutes or so. Tasty, simple. I did start to notice that some bars got the nitro mix better then others. The Skeff in Galway pours a damn fine pint.
Mulled wine is a better then I expected. Not only does it heat you through and through but you get a pretty complex flavor going with spices and cooking. Don’t use a very cheap wine but also don’t use anything too expensive. I used this recipe
Three cheers for Irish Whiskey! I have had so many great tastes of whiskey this holiday season. Different flavor components, many different cost levels, and a whole lot of good times. Jasmine and I held our first annual Cheestmas and drank a good bit of whiskey paired with cheese that day. Overall the two went rather well together. Cask strength can be a bit much unless you have a big cheese. Cooley was a good whiskey cheese. The Tyrconnell port finished whiskey was one of my favorites – this is some complex delicious whiskey. Try to find if you can.
I am a sucker for holiday beers and Galway gave me plenty of them. I very much missed our annual holiday party and all our friends back home but my Anchor Holiday and a Founders winter made me think of the States and all the past years. I also got to taste a really exciting Irish brewery’s holiday beer – White Gypsy Xmas. Good sweet stuff.
Port! Who knew (besides lots and lots of people). I like port and damn does it go well with chocolate cookies. This was just a relativly cheap Taylor’s ruby port. I would like to try some more serious aged ports.
Tags: Beer & Food · Non-Beer Beverages
By Joe Ruvel · December 5th, 2013 · Comments Off
Ah the first holiday beer. Many more to come but this one is special. It marks a time for winter warmers and spicy big beers. It’s cold outside and I have a holiday hoppy pale ale – life is good.
Read the poem in the second picture if you have a minute, those BrewDog folks know how to write some good label.
By Joe Ruvel · December 2nd, 2013 · 1 Comment
I have in my hand a small bottle of one of my favorite Irish whiskeys I have had so far. Not only is it a very tasty product but it also has one of the best names ever.
Writers Tears is an independent bottling blend that is made to evoke the type of whiskey that was made during the time James Joyce was living and writing.
Anyone that writes knows the pain of writers block. Fear of failure, laziness, doubt – all of it holding you back from putting words on paper. Many a great Irish writer has turned to whiskey to get past the block. And so it was said that when an Irish writer cried, the tears were made of whiskey. Marketing schtick but good marketing schtick at least.
And a killer product. Made at a Cork distillery that they do not mention this fine whiskey is a blend of pot still whiskey and malt whiskey. Pot still, which I recently learned, means it was made with malted and unmalted “green” barley. And then the mixed mash is made into a beer of sorts and distilled usually in a fat bottom pot still. A malt whiskey can also be made in a pot still but it just has malt.
Blend them together and you get a great drink of honey cake with spiced fruit. Some oily/rich notes that I am seeing is usual with pot still but then a nice shot of sugar.
More of this and I should be able to post more than once a month!
Tags: Non-Beer Beverages · Tastings
By Joe Ruvel · November 9th, 2013 · Comments Off
A few photos of some of the drinks we had in Transylvania.
Ciuc bottle right when we got to Satu Mare. We were very hungry and thirsty. They made a mean pizza at the random place we stopped
Home distilled fruit brandy. First night in our little village home away from home. I think this is the plum brandy and boy was it easy to kick back a few of these after dinner.
Fresh/New wine – quick ferment – rather young table wine. Almost everyone in the village had vines near their doorway. They make wine for themselves and for guests. Simple and delicious.
Tuica (kind of like a sherry – pretty sweet – Jasmine loved it) and Palinka
Fancy wine shop in Bucharest – very interesting wines from Davino
Feteasca Alba – ancient Romanian grape that is over 2000 years old
Tags: Beerventures · Non-Beer Beverages