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About this Blog

Welcome to Po'Nutrition Fax! This blog is about alcohol - it has nothing to do with health or wellness, and the only relationship between this and Edgar Allen Poe is that he was an alcoholic.

I used to work in a liquor store and developed a taste for all different types of booze. As my collection grew, I felt the need to share my knowledge of, interest in, and experiences with my purchases - from the standards (e.g. whisk(e)y, gin) to the less-than-standard (e.g. kirschwasser, raki). You'll also find a lot on beer (another love of mine).

This is not about how much I can drink nor do I promote over-excess of alcohol. As with most blogs, there is some self-reflection included with most of the reviews. The point is to encourage everyone to reflect on what they drink.

Leave comments or ask questions! Also, "follow" me if you like what you read - I am not making money from this blog but if I see more interest in this and hear some feedback, it will encourage me to write more.

Cheers!
Mike

Friday, February 24, 2012

Killepitsch


Nothing says "Drink Me" like seeing the tagline "The Taste of Old Düsseldorf."

Bitters are an acquired taste. Killepitsch is a bitter. Employing syllogistic logic, therefore we can conclude that Killepitsch is an acquired taste. We all know Jägermeister, the most famous bitter in the States, as a fart-boy party drink and the drink that turns the members of Metallica into assholes... well, bigger assholes. But Jägermeister is a sugar-coated version of a bitter. Drink Fernet Branca, then you'll know what a true bitter is. Or drink Unicum. Or, for the faint of heart, drink Killepitsch.

The bitter is, historically, a drink in which a large number or herbs and spices have been "soaked" in quaffable alcohol in order to draw out the medicinal qualities of said herbs and spices. Consequently, the bitter is thought to have a lot of medicinal qualities to it. However they are best when consumed after dinner, as a digestif - to calm the stomach after a heavy meal.

I read this article in the NY Times this morning about digestifs and thought, throughout the day, about drinking some Killepitsch (since it is the bitter I have on hand). While the article focuses mostly on brandies, there is something about the bitter that I love after a big meal. While my dinner of leftovers wasn't necessarily a "big meal", it was spicy and acidic enough to require the aid of a bitter.

I generally associate "bitter" with "basic" - or a high pH. Since I had an acidic dinner (basically a lot of tomatoes), I figured following it with a bitter would prevent a "sour stomach." While I'm not sure what the pH level of bitters are, I employ syllogistic logic here again - since basic things are bitter, and bitters are, well, bitter then it is pretty safe to assume the bitters have a high pH.

Killepitsch is marketed as "The Taste of Old Düsseldorf," so while I'm not sure what "New Düsseldorf" tastes like I can tell you that "Old Düsseldorf" is pretty bitter. As with all bitters you have to get past the initial reaction, specifically the revulsion, in order to truly enjoy it.

Why go beyond "revulsion"? Isn't "revulsion" enough?

Humans have evolved to hate bitter tasting things - most poisonous compounds taste bitter so we naturally avoid bitter things. But we do drink coffee, and beer, so bitter isn't all bad. We generally have no problem when we consume something else that is mostly salty, or sweet, or acidic (or 'umami-mi?) but we avoid bitter. I say embrace bitter and let it become a part of your tasting experience. If we know this isn't poisonous, then get past it and see what else there is to enjoy. Yes, alcohol is "poisonous" to the body but this isn't the type of poison that will cause immediate neurological dysfunction or liquidate your organs as the previously mentioned bitter-tasting toxins your body has evolved to avoid.

Killepitsch, like the most popular bitters, is sweetened
slightly with sugar. Jägermeister is probably the sweetest of the group, which is probably why it is the most popular - it's hard to market something that tastes like poison. Nevertheless, you'll get a hint of sweetness at the end of Killepitsch - but it is mostly bitter. Of the three noticeably "sweetened" bitters I've had (Jägermeister, Killepitsch, and Zwack), Killepitsch is my favorite. While Jägermeister has a strong licorice flavor, and Zwack a noticeably stronger orange-peel flavor, Killepitsch has a "red berry" flavor to it... along with the cola and mint flavors one generally finds in these types of bitters.

While not as truly bitter in taste as Fernet Branca or Unicum (which I will elaborate on in the future), Killepitsch is a good start to get away from the Jägermeister crowd into the darker and crueler world of bitters.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Ithaca Flower Power


On a recent trip to Ithaca, NY I stopped into the Ithaca Beer Company to try some their beers (and sodas). I tried their beers prior to this trip but I always try to go to a brewery in order to try the beer when it's fresh.

It was a miserable Saturday of grey skies and rain and our hopes to hike along the many trails in and around Ithaca were not to be fulfilled. Therefore it became a day of indoor activities. Unfortunately, Martha had lots of law school work to do so I planned this trip to the brewery to at least have a little fun while she worked. In the worst case scenario (i.e. it sucked) at least I'd get to try fresh beer for a couple bucks (since tastings are never actually free - but they do pour you a lot once you start drinking). I tried their beers and freshly made sodas (Root and Ginger beers) and I even took a little tour - which was not very exciting but it was the weekend and they weren't actually making any beer. However, I don't think it's important to get a flashy tour of a brewery since it is the beer that is important, not if I'm impressed when I see where it is made.

While the brewery wasn't impressive, their beers certainly were. Although I wouldn't say I love all their beers, there are some stand outs - Flower Power being one such stand out.

It is assertively hoppy and the citrus notes have a tropical quality to them (i.e. pineapple). Unfortunately the finish isn't as long as I would like it to be (like the rye beer reviewed earlier this evening). In addition, the "tropical" hops can be tiresome and I probably could not have more that two of these in an evening before I'd want to try something else. Nevertheless it is still a very good beer. Plus it is from Upstate New York so it's almost local (for me)!

Now if only I could find their Root and Ginger Beers then I'd be very happy - they make even better soda than they do beer (and they make very good beer)!

Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye


Back in October, I posted that rye beers are hard to find. Therefore when this beer from Sierra Nevada recently appeared at my beer store, I was eager to try it.

It is a Friday so I stopped to buy some beer (as I usually do) on my way home and decided to get this, along with Ithaca Flower Power IPA and Great Divide Old Ruffian Barleywine. I saw this rye a few weeks ago but didn't buy it then because, well, I hate buying a six-pack of something I just want to try. As I've said before I don't want to get stuck with five beers I don't like. It's happened before - Troegs Troegenator DoppleBock languished in my fridge for months before I bought some fresh sausage to cook in it. However, since I have liked every rye beer I've had I figured the risk of me NOT liking it was low. Not surprisingly, this experience has been very UNdisappointing.

It, like the Hop Rod Rye, is a "Rye"P.A. (Rye India Pale Ale) so there is a great balance between the citrusy hops and spicy rye flavors. However let the beer rest in your mouth before you swallow; the spicy rye flavors open up and mellow in your mouth. Swallowing invites the very long and very bitter finish to join you on this beer-drinking experience. Although I haven't had a chance to have many, this is a great rye beer.

There may be another post to follow tonight - it was a long day and I really need at least two drinks.