Beer Grab Bag
by F. Sot Fitzgerald

More and more I love to drink and take notes on beverage, but gads do I hit to write about them. Perhaps I am getting old and lazy; perhaps...hmm, there would seem to be no other possibilities. All right then, I'm getting old and lazy.

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The upshot of this is that I'm under the editorial gun with a heap of notes on beers that bear no rellation to one another whatsoever. Teasing out a theme (say, spring ales, or bargain lagers) is simply impossible. So it goes.

Brou Czech Lager
I came across this beer at a dumpy little Mexican grocery store in Brooklyn. The hand scrawled, magic amrker sign read, "Beer/Cerveza $1". Never to pass up a bargain, I grabbed one. As it happened, it was well worth it. Brou Cech lager is made by Nova Paka Brewery of, yes,m you guessed it, Nova paka, Czech republic. It is imported by thefabulously generically named Eurolink, Ltd. of Woodland Hills, Calfiornia. So what's it doing in a Mexican grocery in Brooklyn? Beats me. Anyway, it's a blond brew with a slight copper tint and a big head, so pour it in a wide mouth glass so you can breath in the graisn and hops. It's more robust than most mass produced American lagers (think Budweiser) yet mild enough to prove refreshing on a warm day. It's a little sweet but closes crisply. (Rating ***1/2) Learn more at

Full Sail Whitecap
God love those folks at Full Sail. They just keep banging out fine brews. This brew is copper red in color and has a sizable head. It's a little sweet, and very pungent with malts. This is lovely English Pale Ale, and I'll be thrilled when the next batch of it appears in February. (Rating ****) Get to know Full Sail brews at

Rogue Half-a-Weizen
An intriguing beer: part wheat beer, part ale. Rogue Half-a-Weizen is crafted from Half-A-Weizen is a refreshing, unfiltered fusion of wheat and Northwest Harrington malts, coriander, ginger, and Saaz hops. Accordingly, this brew isn't a clove and bubblegum bomb; the Harrington malts add richness and soften the wheat, making for a drier wheat beer. I am impressed that the brewmaster used the ginger and coriander so delicately- all too often thse potent herbs can overwhelm a brew. Not so here. It's yummy. (Rating ****)

Woody's Ice Hard Blueberry
Half goofed on gin, I staggered from my apartment and went to the above mentioned Mexican grocery store. I bought 6 tamales- dense, immense things: there's no way I could eat them all, but at $1.50 a pop, they seemed worth having.

In the cooler I saw they had Woody's Ice. It's not something I've tried before, and blueberry struck me as potentially brilliant or ghastly idea. I threw the dice and got lucky.

In a glass Woody's is clear, like water, but with a faint blue tint. It's a touch fizzy, but doesn't have a beer head. Woody's is a "malt beverage with natural blueberry flavor and certified color." What those words mean in fact is unclear. They are, though, a triumph up to opacity in marketing. Beverage Brands of the grimly named Torquay (Torqemada?), England churns this out and Collins International (more opacity) of Littleton, Massachusetts imports it.

Woody's noses of blueberry...waffles- as in Eggo's. That's not bad: I loved those things as a kid. In the mouth it is cool, watery and goes down easy- like watered down Sprite with some blueberry Eggo dust added. I can see where one could easily chug quarts of this: it's just so easy, and it's clerly desirable on a hot day. Yet, it's a healthy 5% alcohol, so it will sting your skull. (Rating ***1/2) Woody's Hard Ice also comes in Cranberry, Grapefruit, and Orange versions. Perhaps I'll work up the courage to try those one night...

Reviewed 6/1/02

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