Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Brother Thelonius, North Coast Brewing Company

Brother Thelonius is a Belgian Style Abbey Ale, part of the "American Artisan Series" from North Coast Brewing Company (Fort Bragg, CA) better known for their flagship gem "Old Rasputin" Russian Imperial Stout.
Elegant cork-and-caged 750ml bottle that bears the image of it's namesake, jazz great Thelelonius Monk.
Bottle reads:
"We at the North Coast Brewing Co. are serious Jazz fans and we're proud to make a donation to the Jazz education programs of the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz
for every bottle of Thelonius sold".
"Carpe Diem Vita Brevis" which translates to "Life is short, seize the day".
ABV is 9.4%.

Here's a better look at the label artwork, designed by Mendocino artist Eduardo Smissen.

Brother Thelonious

Paying homage to Thelonius Monk, it depicts him as a Belgian Monk holding a skull in one hand and a glass of beer in the other. The skull is a poignant reminder of our mortality - "remember you will die".
Jazz afficienados will know that Thelonius Monk (October 10, 1917 - February 17, 1982) was an America Jazz Pianist and Composer considered one of the legends of American music. One of only five jazz musicians to have been featured on the cover of "Time" magazine.

Time Magazine cover Feb. 28th 1964
Enough about the label, let's see what it tastes like shall we?

750ml bottle poured into a "Bavik" glass.
Vigirous pour reveals a beautiful mahogany body topped with a couple fingers worth of appetizing mocha head. Smells of dark fruit.
Luxurious thick mouthfeel. Prunes, raisons in abundance. Molasses? Oaky with a slight spiciness. Did I mention fruity?! Sweet, wheaty and refreshing. Rich and robust.

Rating : A

I'd forgotten how great this beer was until I had one recently on tap ("Hanger Room, Willernie"). A tremendous beer from a great brewery. Retails for around $8.99 for a 750ml bottle, also available in 12oz four-packs.

 North Coast Brewing Co.

More about the brewery:
North Coast Brewing Company
455 North Main Street
Fort Bragg, CA 95437
'PH: 707-964-2739

Established in 1988 as a brewpub, voted "One of the best Breweries in the World".

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Favourite Places, Twin Cities : The Blue Door Pub (St. Paul)

First, the basics :

Blue Door Pub
1811 Selby Avenue
St. Paul
MN 55104
Ph: 651-493-1865
Hours : 11AM - 1AM 7 Days a week

Happy Hour : Daily (yes, that means everyday)! 2-5pm and Late Night 10PM - Close
HH features $2 pints, $5 glasses of wine and $2 baskets of fries or tots.
Late Night HH : $3 pints, $5 wine, $3.50 Deep Fried Green Beans or Pickles, Wings $5.50.

Located in the Selby/Dale neighbourhood in St. Paul, this place is rightly famous for it's stuffed burgers (their take on that Minneapolis invention/obsession, the "Juicy Lucy"). This place is always busy, probably due to all the college's located in close proximity. They don't take reservations, so expect a wait. They have a small patio but due to quirky city codes no alcohol can be served outside. It's tiny, loud and can be very claustrophobic - the bar only seats six - but the friendly service, value and quality make any wait well worth it. They have a small postage sized parking lot but we have always had good luck finding street parking. Inevitably if you do find yourself waiting there's an antique store next door that's worth perusing. If you are short on time their entire menu is available for take-out from 11AM to Midnight.

Business has been so good that they are opening another, bigger location in South Minneapolis (3448 42nd Avenue) scheduled for summer 2012. I was originally informed they had been looking at Eat Street in Minneapolis but that deal fell through - sad, because that would have been much closer for me. C'est La Vie!

Appetizers include Buffalo Wings, 1 1/2 LB's for $8.50 is a great deal. Very tasty!

Fries are done how I like them - almost burnt, with a light sprinkling of salt.

Available on draft on my most recent visit:
Alaskan Amber, Bell's Hopslam, Founders Dirty Bastard, Surly - Bender and Furious, Lift Bridge Farm Girl, Hamm's, Blue Moon, Odells 90 Shilling and Summit - EPA, Winter and Oatmeal.
 Not extensive but I can't think of any place that offers $2 pints of Surly or anything else for that matter. Sadly Hopslam was not included in HH but it was $6 pint (I'm guessing this was a lucky mistake)! I've been fortunate to partake of $2 pints of Surly 5 on a previous visit. Unbeatable!

Yes, it's a heart-attack on a plate but (only in moderation) one of my favourites, "The Breakfast Blucy".
Like they said.....
We augment our Classic with more cheese, thick-cut bacon, and a fried egg on top. Bye-bye hangover! … $8.50
The Blucy I get most often when I visit has to be the "Frenchy"......
Ooh La La! Think French Dip – Swiss cheese and caramelized onions on the inside, even more cheese on top, and served with a side of au jus. … $7.00

Frugal Tip : Save a few bucks at HH by ordering the basket of fries instead of paying for an individual side. Only $2 and more than enough for sharing! Another outsatnding example of value was during the holidays they were selling $125 worth of gift cards for $100. I wish this was a permanent offer!

As featured on Food Network's "Diners, Drive Ins and Dives" before host Guy Fieri was exposed (allegedly) as a homophobe. Here's his signature above the tap list at BDP.

BDP punch card. 11th visit free!

Make sure to get a free punch card. Every Blucy you try earns a stamp and 11th visit gets a free one. Plus a special "winner" T-Shirt. Unbeatable! Best of all - they will stamp your card even if you don't try every variety of Blucy so even if you stick to your favourites it's all the same. They even give you a free T-Shirt!

I am the Wiener! 2011 "Space Invaders" style.

Winning! 2012 version.

View of the bar from a booth. Easily the slowest I've ever seen at BDP!

A view of the patio in summer.