Life Cafe Blog

Posts Tagged ‘beer speak’


Come watch the Super Bowl tonight and cheer on your favorite team!! Watch the game on TWO tv’s!! DRINK SPECIALS  AS WELL AS FLASH SPECIALS ALL NIGHT LONG!!! Come on in and relax and enjoy the game and the COMMERCIALS starting at 6PM!!

Beer Speak – Who’s Lucky?

Now Available at Life Cafe 983


Breckenridge Lucky U IPA

6.2% ABV


This is amazingly well balanced IPA has just the perfect amount of hoppiness to let you know the brewers were paying attention.  It is most certainly one of the more drinkable IPAs we’ve served here.  I would say it even rivals some session beers.  Perfect for when you are truly thirsty, you can pound down a six pack of these guys easily.

Note: I’m sorry to have to announce that our whiskey tasting event is moved two weeks ahead from this Saturday, October 22nd to Saturday, November 5th. All the better as that gives me more time to introduce you to the scotches we’ll be offering. So, keep the date and keep posted!

The Beer Dude is Back Behind the Bar

Hi, this is Andy. You remember, The Beer Dude of Life Cafe 983. For years, I’ve been researching, choosing, ordering, serving, drinking, writing about and, last but not least, talking about the beers I love to serve here. I talked so much about beer that John Sunderland (our artist-in-residence and infamous creator of our Menu Picture Riddles) sketched me as I really am – a pint of beer with a nice frothy head. From that moment on, I became The Beer Dude.

Just over a year ago, Mark, my co-manager and “partner in crime” at Life 983, went over to the East Village Life Cafe to help out. My hands became full of managing other things far away from the bar. Well, Mark is happily back and I’m back where, I have to admit, I am most happy to be – running your ears off with ramblings about different varieties of hops, which kinds of yeasts leave the most desirable residual sugars, the way adding rye to an IPA recipe can … yeah, well, I can go on running. I’ll get into more of that in the next postings. I can’t help it – it’s the stuff I love.

I look forward to telling you about the exciting developments with the beer line-up we’re looking to introduce as well as some fun enhancements we’re planning with the rest of the boozies. Like, we’ve got a Scotch event coming up Saturday night, October 22nd. Before then, I’ll be writing about the character of each of the four new Scotches we’ll have in house so you’ll be better prepared to savor their differences.

Come on by to meet me and try the samples. I look forward to seeing you here on October 22nd. And before you get here, tune in to my blog for talk about Scotch.

BEER SPEAK @ Life Cafe 983

Strong, Firm and Dauntless?
By Andy Mills

1. bold, brave, or dauntless: a stout heart; stout fellows.
2. firm; stubborn; resolute: stout resistance.
3. forceful; vigorous: a stout argument; a stout wind.
4. strong of body; hearty; sturdy: stout seamen.
5. having endurance or staying power, as a horse.
6. strong in substance or body, as a beverage.
7. strong and thick or heavy: a stout cudgel.

Every single one of these definitions adequately describes the style of beer known as stout.  Strong with alcohol.  Bold and forceful in flavor. Only a brave and stubborn palette has enough endurance.  So thick and heavy you can eat it with a spoon.  This amazing style of brew dominates the “Best Cold Weather Beer” list.  You don’t even need someone to snuggle up with when your heater breaks down.   And with a stout, who needs coffee with their breakfast?

The beautiful world of stout…

Stouts are made from the darkest roast of malts in the world giving them the dry finish they are known for.  Stouts were given their name in the 17th century because they were the strongest beers made at the time.  Today, this is still slightly true, but many stouts have fallen from the glory of having more alcohol than does a body good, to more consumer friendly levels.  Guinness is a perfect example, weighing in at an astonishingly low 4.1% ABV.  Most beers, even that watery substance called Budweiser, are around  5%.  But not all members of the stout family have changed their ways so greatly.

Let’s talk about the Russian Imperial Stout.  Actually an English beer it’s named for its purpose; shipment to Russia.  Alcohol, being a preservative, was needed to be brought to higher levels for the beer to survive the trip to across a continent, and the Russians loved it.  More booze, means more malts, means more flavor, means more yum.  These guys can reach well over 10% ABV and that is something that I like.

North Coast Old Rasputin
Fort Bragg, California
ABV: 9%

Seven years ago when I was in church I met a beautiful dark skinned woman with beautiful brown hair.  We talked, we laughed and I cherished her in my arms.  It was good times.  Her name was Old Rasputin.  Okay.  It wasn’t church; it was a bar and the girl was a beer.  The rest is true.  The flavor is dominated by an earthy chocolate taste backed up with heavy dark malts.  It’s finish, glory.

I still love this stuff as much as the day I met her at church.  At Life Café now.

Beer Speak @ Life Cafe 983

What’s Wheat That?
by Andy Mills, Bar Manager Life Cafe 983

Of all the styles of beer present in the world today, the wheat beer is the grand daddy.  The brewing process resembles that of the first beers brewed EVER.  The main reason behind this is due to the additional flavors added to the beer by the wheat.  This was a gigantic bonus in the early stages of the game because early brewers were slow to grasp the irreplaceable presence of hops that we are accustomed to today.  The diversity of wheat in the early days is also something to take into consideration.

…can trace it’s history back to the late 8th century from a small hops garden…

Ever have a Belgian lambic?  Not Lindemen’s, something actually good, like Cantillon.  Cantillon has one of the most traditional styles of brewing in the world, spontaneous fermentation, as many organic products as they can get their fingers on, no filtration, all that stuff, and, it’s made partially from wheat (about 35%). Then there’s Belgian wit biers, dunkle weizens,  weizen bocks, and the ever so popular German style, the hefeweizen.

Now that we have briefly spoke of the oldest living style of brewing in the world, let’s talk about the oldest licensed brewery in the world, Weihenstephaner.  They make a variety of wheat beers ranging from dunkle wies to their flagship hefeweizen, as well as a number of non wheat beers, and they have been doing it for a long time.  The brewery was licensed by the Bavarian government in 1040AD (first ever), but can trace it’s history back to the late 8th century from a small hops garden located on site.  Tradition as well as quality has been what has kept this “brewstorical” mammoth alive all these years.

Now served at Life Cafe 983
Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen
Bavaria, Germany
ABV: 5.4%

In accordance with German law, this lovely style is required to be made with top fermenting yeast, making it an ale.  Although most ales are known to lean more toward heavier beers with longer finishes, this beauty comes out clean as a whistle.  It has a nice hazey yellow color with big white head.  It has a naturally high level of citrus and corriander flavors that pretty much define the style.  Yeast is left unfiltered from the beer making it truly taste alive.  Definitely feels like and original.


One Great Mistake

By Andy Mills, Bar Manager

Imagine, years and years ago, a time before we had refrigerated trucks, before we had cars or even electricity.  Even during such a primitive time period (by our standards anyway) people were still squeezing into pubs, taverns and inns all throughout the world in search of great beer.  To make sure they found what they needed, some establishments would make it right there on the spot.  Others lacked the ingenuity, space or time to dedicate to the ever so involved process of making a great pint.  These places decided they wanted to have beers anyway.

…a couple can leave you happy yet crippled at the same time. I know, it happened to me last night…

It seems simple to us, out source it and ship it in.  Well, it didn’t quite work so easily during a cold winter in Bavaria when the only means of transportation was a horse drawn carriage.  They still tried.  The side affect was the beer would partially freeze before arriving to the taverns.  Now, if we look at the situation scientifically, we could deduce that since alcohol freezes at a much lower temperature than water, we can make an educated guess that what comes out of a half frozen keg of beer is not quite as timid as it was originally intended to be.  This was the fortunate birth of the ice beer.

Most examples of this style are frightening; Natural Ice, Bud Ice, Molson Ice.  You know, the kind of beer that you are forced to drink when you walk into a college party accidentally because the hot younger girl you were dating at the time insisted and you happen to be the oldest person in the room by too many years…  That’s the stuff.  However, when done correctly, bliss may be achieved.  Here is, I think, my favorite ice beer in the market.

Scheinder Aventinus Eisbock
ABV: 12%

The original Aventinus is an extremely famous (amongst beer geeks anyways) Dopple Weissen Bock.  This means essentially, that it is a hearty lager made from wheat and double the ingredients of the typical beer in the same amount of water, leaving a fuller flavor and happily, more alcohol.  To make their eisbock, Scheinder froze this already intimidating beer and removed a portion of the water, leaving an even more potent brew.  Remarkably, the end product is extremely smooth and will fool you if you are not careful.  At 12%, a couple can leave you happy yet crippled at the same time.  I know, it happened to me last night…

Beer Speak @ Life Cafe 983

Why the I in IPA
by Andy Mills, Bar Manager in Brooklyn

It all started in the 18th and 19th century. As is common knowledge, the British have always enjoyed drinking fine ales. Their navy was no exception. They would ration 1 gallon of beer per sailor per day which is equivalent to 8 pints or almost 11 12oz bottles, quite a decent amount of beer I would say. This proved to be a very large problem for sailors taking long voyages into warmer climates such as India (the “I”). The popular ales of that time period would spoil in a matter of weeks, leaving sour, flat beverages for the boys to enjoy. Nutritionally speaking, beer contains essential amounts of vitamin B to long traveling sailors. What could be done? What had to be done?

Freeze it! Nope… Boil more water out! Nope… What?

More hops! Yes… More booze! Yes…

Alcohol makes it harder for microbes to reproduce, while hops discourages growth of lactic acid bacteria. These were the most effective means of beer preservation. Another neat trick was the addition of additional sugars into the beer to keep the yeast alive as long as possible, thus keeping the beer even longer. Just happens, people really enjoyed this new style of beer. Now in the United States the IPA has become one of the most popular styles in the craft beer industry.

It wasn’t a choice then… It was necessity…

Now, it’s a luxury.

Stoudts Double IPA
Adamstown, PA

10.6% ABV

Stoudts Brewing didn’t start out as a brewery and is still much, much more. It started as Stoudts Kountry Kitchen, evolved into a steak house, an antique marll, and finally, turned brewery in the late 70s. All of Stoudts endeavors have been always reaching to obtain the highest quality of craftsmanship. This beer is no different. Packing an extreme amount of hops into this one wasn’t enough. They also needed to balance it with and extreme malty backbone. Amazingly smooth for a beer with a massively high alcohol content, I highly recommend it.

Now at Life Café 983

BEER SPEAK @ Life Cafe 983

Ultimate beer tasting…
by Andy, Bar Manager in Brooklyn

It took about 35 minutes of picking and choosing at Bierkraft + $154 and we had 35 of the world’s best beers ranging from Scheinder’s Aventius Wiezen Eisbock – Dogfish Head’s Raison de Extra (alcohol levels ranging between 6.7% and 28%!!! – average out at about 12%). This was definitely one of the best varieties of beer I have consumed in a sitting. Luckily, I happen to share it with my brother and step-father. We sat in my living room, each one of us had a chalice that we would rinse in between the next sample (at first anyway). We would take turns picking the next beer. It seemed a trend that I would go for Belgians, typically quads, and my family was going toward IPAs with west coast hop profiles. This got me thinking about my next pick.

The best match I could come up with was Houblon Chouffe, a Belgian triple abbey/double IPA blend. When I say this, it is actually NOT two different beers brewed separately and blended together. It is a meld of styles generally so far apart from each other that few would dare such a thing, but not La Chouffe. Being experts at brewing triple abbeys, they wanted to do something a little more challenging. Their take on this unique endeavor, was pure brilliance. In the United States and England, brewers tend to add hops early in the boil if not before the malt is even added, adding a stronger “bittering” effect to the beer. La Chouffe on the other hand, wanted all of the beautiful floral and pine essences that hops has to offer without making the beer overly bitter and acidic. Weighing in at 9% ABV, Houblon Chouffe hit the nail right on the head. Perfectly smooth body of a Belgian triple with a nice balance of hop, not turning the triple into the typical American double IPA. Highly recommended because hey, we were all happy!

Now available @ Life Cafe 983

BEER SPEAK @ Life Cafe 983

Beer as bread…
Andy, Beverage Manager in Bushwick Brooklyn

In the early 14th century, stuck with colder temperatures in Germany, monks were forced to use lagering yeast (activates @ colder temperatures) rather than the ale yeasts (activates warmer) that were more popular in milder regions of Europe. Lagers are generally light, mild flavored beers. During fasting however, monks decided they needed to throw more malts in the beer to add additional nutritional value. This was the invention of the bock style that is growing in popularity. If that wasn’t strong enough, even more malts were pitched and thus… the dopplebock, or double bock. Monks would use these beers in place of bread during Lent and other such Roman Catholic holidays that require fasting.

Sprecher Dopple Bock

Glendale, Wisconsin

(8% ABV)

Beer from Wisconsin? Is it PBR? NO! Although the founder of Sprecher, Randal Sprecher, was in fact a brewing supervisor for Pabst Brewing, he is not making Pabst here. Since it’s founding in 1985, Sprecher has been on the forefront of reviving the lost arts and old world brewing processes. My personal favorite is the Dopple Bock. A little sweetness is added to this malt monster from the use of roasted dark malts. After brewing, the beer is put into cold storage for 6 months. If properly stored, it can be aged for years, calming the sweetness and adding body. Wonderfully complex either way.