Old Chub Beer

Old Chub BeerWhile the name, Old Chub, might sound like pipe tobacco, a fishing lure or a plump old man, I assure you it is beer. Old Chub Beer comes in a can and a 6-pack sells for $8 to $9 dollars. Rated at 8% alcohol, Old Chub, is a very strong, dark scotch ale beer. I learned about Old Chub from a friend, whom recommended it when I explained to him how crazy I was about the pricey, thick-syrupy, chocolate-molasses Bourbon Barrel Stout that costs $16.00 per 750 ml bottle. So how does it taste?

Old Chub Beer Tasting Notes

You can smell the caramel darkness of Old Chubbefore you even take that first sip. I thought it was a bit more pungent, but not as thick with molasses as the Bourbon Barrel Stout. The first sip packs a pretty good punch and goes down warm. It has plenty of caramel and butter-scotch flavor, without the chocolate and molasses of the Bourbon Barrel Stout. Unlike the Bourbon Barrel Stout, the Old Chub leaves a bit of a bitter aftertaste near the back of the tongue, but it is really not that unpleasant. I think Old Chub would be even better served not quite so cold – just a little bit below room temperature. You’ll definitely want to drink Old Chub out of a glass or porcelain mug. It gets better tasting the more you drink. By the time, I took the last sip of Old Chub, I was ready to pour the next one. Those who think they don’t like dark beers might have a different opinion of them after tasting Old Chub. While Old Chub Scottish Ale is certainly not of the high quality, smoothness and complexity of the
Bourbon Barrel Stout,  it offers you a much cheaper alternative when you’re in the mood for a very rich, good dark beer. So, where does Old Chub come from and where do you buy it?

Where to find Old Chub Beer

Oscar Blues BreweryOld Chub is made by Oscar Blues Brewery in Lyons,Colorado. Oscar Blues makes 5 other brews: Dale’s Pale Ale, G’Knight Imperial Red, Mama’s Little Yella Pills, Ten Fidy and Gubna. If the taste of the beer isn’t interesting enough, you can always fall back on the names. Oscar Blues also have a variety of different brews that they serve on Tap. Oscar Blues is not only a brewery, but a bar and grill featuring down-home cookin’ and blues music. Really, this looks like a fun place to visit. Old Chub is a fun and hearty which has piqued my interest in trying all of their other brews.

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Eristoff Vodka

How do you rate Eristoff Vodka? 

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Eristoff VodkaEristoff Vodka is a triple-distilled, bargain-priced vodka made in France. To me, premium vodkas are a rip-off. The top-shelf brands in the elegant bottles like Grey Goose are overpriced. It is my belief that the majority of people who pay a pretty penny for these expensive vodkas could buy brands for less than 1/2 the price and be just as happy with the smoothness and flavor. It is really tragic to pay good money for vodka than mix it with sour, cranberry juice or a dirty martini full of salty, olive juice.  Don’t get me wrong, some vodkas are better than others, but don’t think you have to pay a Grey Goose or Ketel One price to enjoy a good clean taste. There are 1.75 Liter brands selling for less than $21.00 that will satisfy most people. Is Eristoff Vodka  one of those that compares favorably to the top-shelf brands?

Eristoff vs Top Shelf Vodka Brands

Taaka is the cheap vodka brand which all cheap vodkas are to be compared, in my opinion. No, Taaka is not a great vodka by any means, but for the price just about anyone can learn to mix with it in such a way to make it tolerable. Eristoff is appreciably better than Taaka and probably better than most vodkas in the $20.00-and-under per 1.75 Liter bottle price range.  Eristoff is a wheat-based alcohol, so stay clear of this if you have any severe gluten allergies or aversions to wheat-based food products. Eristoff has a very sharp, bitter front to it. Almost bitter enough that it hides any of it’s vanilla-sweet over-tones. The pepper is extreme to the point where it is almost hot. I noticed a bit of caramel in the taste, but only after some real effort getting past the front-of-the-mouth, sharpness that rings long after you’ve downed the first swallow.  The good news, however, is that the bitterness does not follow it’s way down your esophagus and into your gut like Taaka and some of the other bargain-priced vodkas. Eristoff vodka actually has a smooth, sugary finish. If you’re not expecting too much for your $17.00, you won’t be too disappointed. That is, unless you’ve been drinking Ruskova, another bargain-priced vodka made in Russian that is much better, all-around. I have been getting Ruskova at my Costco Liquor store for $13.00 per 1.75 Liter bottle. Ruskova is smoother up front with more vanilla and much better, overall flavor than Eristoff. For a few bucks more you can buy Svedka which according to some people is among the best.

Vodka is a peculiar alcohol to rate with extremely varying opinions, so don’t go by my word alone. I remember thinking that Sobieski Vodka was over-rated, yet some vodka drinkers insist that it is the best you can buy for under $20.00. My hunch is that if you tried Sobieski, Eristoff and Ruskova, the Ruskova would come out on top and save you a few bucks, too.

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Seattles Best Coffee

seattles best coffee

I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I love Starbucks coffee and anything short of that has seemingly become a cheap comparison. I haven’t quite found a match for Starbucks whether it is whole bean for drip coffee makers or the Keurig K-Cups and/or Tassimo T-Discs Brewing machines. I’ve reviewed quote a few different coffees, but obviously there are quite a few brands I’ve never had the opportunity to try. Seattles Best Coffee isn’t one of them. I’ve tried it and I like it, but can it replace my standby, Costco, Roasted-by-Starbucks brand in the 2lb whole-bean bags? In reality, I believe the Seattle brand is a cheaper subsidiary of Starbucks.

Seattles Best vs Starbucks

If I love Starbucks so much you might be asking why I would even consider their Seattle brand. I’ll give you the answer in two words: Price and convenience. The Costco roasted-by-Starbucks brand comes in whole bean which are very inconvenient to take home and grind every night. Also, I think the quality and flavor of the Costco brand isn’t quite what it used to be. I’ve gotten tired of it. Unfortunately, though, the 1lb bags of Starbucks averages out to be $2.00 to $5.00 more expensive than the other, pre-ground gourmet brands of coffee beans. There has to be a compromise and that’s where Seattle’s Best Coffee has promise.  I’ve had Seattles Best before and liked it – just not as much as Starbucks. The reason is its darkness. Every blend of Seattles Best Coffee that I’ve tried is very bold to the point where it tastes like a French or Italian Roast. There is more smoke than actual coffee flavor. On the other hand, Seattles Best coffee is very smooth and low in acidity which makes it more tolerable for me than most non-Starbucks brands of Coffee. When I found the ground, Seattles Best Coffee at my local, King Sooper Supermarket for $6.00 a pound, I thought it would be worth giving this coffee another try.  I found four different varieties of Seattles Best Coffee:  Level-1, Level-2, Level-3 and Level-4: Okay, what do all these levels mean. I forced myself into a new level of comfort-zone and decided to read the explanation on the label. The level ratings our the Seattles Best Coffee roasters way of telling us how dark the roast. Level 1 is the lightest and Level 5 is the darkest. My grocer didn’t have the level-5 and being that Seattles Best always seemed a little too dark for me, I figured Level-3 would be the perfect compromise.

Seattles Level-3 roast did not disappoint me. On the other hand, like all the others that I’ve tried, it’s a tad darker and smokier than I prefer. Still, for the money, this is a decent and more convenient coffee than the degraded, whole bean roasted-by-Starbucks brand I’ve been buying for years at Costco. The most encouraging news however is that if the level-3 is too dark, I still have 2, lower, levels of lightness to look forward to trying.  If the level-2 is still too dark, I’ll try the level-1. My guess is that either of those will be an improvement, because their coffee is consistently darker than any others that I’ve tried. On my next trip to the supermarket, I’ll pick up a 1lb bag of both the Level-1 and Level-2 Seattles Best Coffee. Can either of these Seattles Best  blends become my new, household, every-day favorite? <

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Bourbon Barrel Stout




bourbon barrel stoutIf you love a rich, dark, full-bodied, complex beer, you’ll love Bourbon Barrel Stout by Odell Brewing. When I toured the Odell Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado, I had absolutely no idea that I would leave the place craving a rich and creamy bourbon barrel stout. Having never even tried it, I knew I would love it just by the tour guide’s taste description:

Tasting Notes: Sweet milk chocolate, smooth vanilla and coffee beans; aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels for that extra taste of oak and caramel. Does that not sound delicious? It sure does to me, but that is only one of the reasons I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

10.5% Alcohol

I love a beer that is not only stout in taste and thickness, but alcohol as well. I tend to get filled up too quickly on beer. With bourbon barrel stout you don’t need to drink as much to enjoy a good buzz along with its exceptional taste.  I was very impressed with the Odell Brewing company. Odell is a great company; with a small-company feel of a micro brewery, but the production of very big, hearty beers. I’m not a big fan of a lot of the Odell classic beers like 90 Schilling, 5 Barrel Pale Ale, etc.. Don’t get me wrong these are very good beers, but I’m not a fan of the perfume-citrus type flavors of these beers. The Odell Brewing tour gives you a very good chance to sample what they have: For $4.00 you can sample their classics: 90 Schilling, 5 Barrel Pale Ale, Levity Amber Ale, Easy Street Wheat Beer,  IPA and Cutthroat Porter. I love a dark beer, so the Porter is one of my favorites. For $8.00, the Odell Tour will give you a sampling of their more complex, seasonal beers such as St. Lupulin,  Isolation Ale, Red, Myrcenary and Double Pilsner. The Double Pilsner, at 8.1% alcohol is very good! There are some real good ones in the batch at the Odell tour, but sadly all I could think about was the Bourbon Stout Barrel which the tour guide announced would not be available until Middle of September. Well, here it is third week of September and I still have not found a liquor store with stock on the highly anticipated bourbon barrel stout. When I finally find it, I’m sure that it won’t be cheap, but well worth the wait. I will be sure to report back with a full review on this fabulous sounding beer. Meanwhile, if you’ve been fortunate enough to try it, please leave us your taste impressions below.

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Best Bagels in Denver

Throw Out Your Brueggers Bagels

best bagels in denverThe best bagels in Denver are made by the Rocky Mtn Bagel factory in Indiana.  If that makes as much sense to you as it does me, join the bagel club of confusion. Actually, I’ve got nothing against Brueggers Bagels. What makes Rocky Mtn Bagels special is that that they come in a bag from the grocery store and they really are delicious. So, if you don’t reside near a great bagel shop, you can still get really bagels without having to take a long drive somewhere. And no, you don’t even have to drive all the way to Indiana where they’re made; they sell them at our local King Soopers (Kroger) Grocery story. My wife bought a baker’s dozen bag of 13. I was skeptical when I first saw them. Rarely, do I care for store-bought bagels. In fact, even most of Denver’s Bagel shops don’t make them right. Good bagels have a firm texture on the outside with fresh chewiness on the inside. Store bought bagels are usually more like bread in texture; they are either too flaky and dry or too soft. Even Einstein’s and Brueggers Bagels don’t quite get it right; though they fool everyone with their size and dazzling number of flavors and varieties. Unfortunately, the privately owned shops that use to make the best bagels in Denver have been run out of business by the big chains like Einsteins and Brueggers Bagels. Hint: A good bagel never leaves crumbs.

Rocky Mountain Bagels

When I looked inside the large bag of bagels I was encouraged by their shiny color which usually indicates they have a good firm crust. There is nothing fancy here – just plain bagels, but they looked delicious and they really were firm as I found out when I opened the bag and pulled the first one out. They are sliced just right so they don’t fall apart and there is absolutely no danger of tearing the bagel when you open them up because they are very firm and robust. Without tasting my first bite, I already knew I was going to like Rocky Mtn Bagels. These bagels are firm, lively and springy. I opened up a couple of the bagels; spread on some butter and lightly toasted them. They are even better toasted.  My wife and covered the inside of the toasted bagels with cream cheese. We both thought they were delicious.  We both agreed; These are the best in Denver.

Where to Buy the Best Bagels in Denver

There’s good news if you don’t live in Denver. Since Rocky Mtn Bagels are made in Indiana and available at our local King Soopers, you can expect to find them in your own Kroger grocery chains throughout much of the country. So, don’t think that you have to go to Denver to eat the best bagels.

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