Catch-Up Post!

Okay everyone who doesn’t read this!  Haha.  I’m doing a little catch up.  In the spirit of all my beer reviews, I have a few more.  Primarily, that is to say I tried most recently, several beers from a local brewery.  I’m just going to try to do this review as best I can, with what’s in memory.

So the first one:

Is it Good?

It’s certainly better than macrobrew, but I wouldn’t say it’s that good.

What’s it Like?

Their website describes the flavor as, “rich and malty ale with notes of caramel, chocolate and light roast”.  I definitely agree that it has a bit of a light roast characteristic.  I could agree with hints of chocolate, but the caramel wasn’t a strong presence.  It takes a back seat, and I feel that putting it as the first flavor in that list is somewhat inappropriate.  Caramel definitely doesn’t dominate the flavor of this beer.  The head is pretty creamy, which I enjoyed about it.  The brew has molasses in it, which you can taste, if you’re familiar with the flavor of molasses.  Otherwise, you’re going to attribute it to the roast flavors that are present, or maybe even the hops.


Is it Good?

I’d say yes!  Out of the three I’ve tried from COOP, definitely my favorite.

What’s it Like?

Again, from the website, “Aromatic malt, wheat and oats merge with fruit-forward esters from the traditional Belgian-style yeast”.  This time, the description is spot on.  One thing I can say that I respect about COOP so far, is that their descriptions are very, very accurate to the actual product.  Many beer companies try to lure you into buying mediocre, no-flavor beers, by insinuating that they’re this or that.  That they have this flavor or that flavor, but really, all you can taste is poorly balanced pisswater.  But yes, the oats, the fruitiness, the malt, all come through on Negative Split.  Flavor wise, I loved it!  But there is a catch, which I’ll address once I’ve finished writing about the third beer.

Last, but not least!

Is it Good?

It disappoints me to say so, but… eh, no.  In my opinion, it’s not.  This is one of those situations where YMMV, though.

What’s it Like?

This is a high proof dark ale.  And I like dark ales!  However, they put candy sugar into this mix, and I assume that was how they obtained their 10% ABV.  They say on the website that there are “Notes of dried fruit, cinnamon and vanilla” and that it is a “complex experience”.  Honestly, when you get it on the palette, it’s not what I’d call complex.  Instead, I’d call it busy.  It has too much going on all at once.  It tastes of yeast, sugar, fruit, spice, vanilla.  In a cake, that’s great.  In a beer… it’s kind of cloying and gross.  Speaking of cloying…

A note on all the COOP Ales

They are incredibly thick, and a tad on the sweet side.  (Actually, DNR is on the VERY sweet side.)  Every single one of these ales was so thick, that it was hard to get through a whole can.  They were super filling, felt very rich in the mouth.  Maybe that’s your deal, but I prefer a beer that I can drink in less than an hour without feeling nauseated.  This was especially strange in the negative split, which has all these Belgian flavors, but the thickness of a stout.  If these ales had been any thicker, I’d have needed a spoon.  So, all that said, they have lovely flavors, but I won’t be buying any more COOP products.  They’re just far too filling and heavy for me.  If you enjoy heavier beers, though, I would recommend both the Briefcase Brown and the Negative Split.  They both have really good flavor.  They’re not the fanciest of fancy craft beers, but definitely all VERY good ales for the price range ($6-7 for four very large cans).

Moving on to Food!

I’ve been really trying to focus on plants and such, hoping to slim down.  I think I want to do a raw vegan diet, about 90% of the time.  I’m not one of those crazies who can do it all the time, and yes, I do think you have to be a little insane to adhere to a raw vegan diet, 100%.  It takes away from your food variety, and it takes away from your relationships (you’d be SUCH A PAIN IN THE ASS to give food gifts to, and you’d also be a complete ass at dinner outings).  You have to pull your hair out over every little thing, and I think that it’s probably mildly obsessive, even bordering on an eating disorder for some people.

But I actually do believe it’s a good diet to adhere to 90% of the time.  That is to say, I think that if you follow it philosophically and intelligently, and don’t just constantly eat health-junk products from Whole Foods, then it’s really great.  It’s got no processed sugars (which are a cooked food), no processed flours, super low in saturated fat (as long as you don’t eat coconut all day), and plenty of fiber and nutrients.

One of the only issues I’m having with it, is finding recipes to keep the variety there, to keep me interested.  So I’m not beating myself up while I make the transition, but there are some issues.  One is that this diet really, really needs nuts to work, and I have a tendency to binge on nuts.  I just can’t stop myself from eating them, especially almonds, peanuts, and cashews.  I think that I may have to buy nut butters, because I mostly intend to incorporate them into dressings and such, where they aren’t a concentrated source of calories.  I don’t actually binge on nut butters at all, just whole nuts, it seems.  Unfortunately, this means the nuts will likely be cooked.  Another alternative I have, though, is that I could just buy raw nuts, come home, and make my own nut butter.  Hm!  Not a bad idea, really.  Good thinking, self!

Some notes I need to make, though:  I really don’t enjoy raw dark greens. (I love them cooked, with onion, garlic, and a boiled egg, though.  That’s how I ate them growing up.  My grandma actually made a thick stew of greens, tons of greens just simmered well in broth, added some roux, and the boiled eggs mentioned.  She would serve it over rice, and it was delicious.)  Nor am I especially fond of raw nappa cabbage or bok choy, unless they are fermented, like they are in kim chi.  Kim chi is certainly doable on a raw diet, but that’s SO much salt, eaten in any great quantity.  Lettuces are great, but it grows monotonous eating just salads.  I think what I may begin doing more of a vegan diet, which strives to be as close to raw as possible, without just completely offending my palette, but saying, it can be either raw, or the 3 B’s: baked, boiled, or broiled.  This would bring in a lot of possibilities, like soup.  I’d actually love to make an eggplant soup this week!  And I HATE HATE raw eggplant.  Seriously, it’s terrible, but I do love some cooked eggplant.  Adore it, in fact.  Same goes for zucchini, totally, 100%.  I love zucchini in every manner of cooked preparation… but raw?  Nooooo.  It’s okay, but I don’t find myself wanting to eat it.  But I think it should also be foods that can only be eaten raw… even if that’s not my preference.  I think what I may start doing, is… when I come home from shopping, I will bake all the veggies I bought, which I don’t like in their raw state.  Then I will cool and refrigerate them.  This will make them available for whatever I want, like salads or anything at all, really.  Now if I buy something like collard greens, sure, I’d put those in a soup.  But for the most part, I think most veggies are best when baked.  It would keep me from sauteeing them, which would add fat.

Anyway, here are some recipes I’m VERY excited to try:

  • Cauliflower Hummus – Fucking love some cauliflower.  With tahini, lemon, and olive oil?  Why the shit haven’t I thought of that!?
  • Vegan hot and sour soup.  Just leave out the egg, and in my case, the tofu.  Needs veggie stock, though.  But I love dried black fungus and lily ear things, etc.

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