The More You Know…About BEER!: Wailua Wheat

August 28, 2009

Wailua (Wheat Ale brewed with Passion Fruit)
By Kona Brewery (Kona, Hawaii)
355mL (12 fl. oz.)
5.4% ABV

Wailua Wheat

Wailua Wheat

Bottle Description:
Wailua is Hawaiian for two fresh water streams mingling. This was just the inspiration needed for our limited release Wheat Ale brewed with tropical passion fruit. A refreshing citrusy, sun-colored ale with the cool taste of Hawaii.

I forget when the official date for the “start of summer” is, but Wheat Ales are in season. Actually, Wheat Ales and DIPAs are the main styles brewed for summer. Don’t be surprised to see most breweries carrying these styles as their summer seasonal (Samuel Adams Summer, Anchor Summer, AleSmith YuleSmith, etc.) Kona Brewing Company, opened in 1994 brews delicious beers with a touch of Hawaiian culture blended in (or at least so I feel when I drink one). Bottled on 5/29/09. This beer is less than a month old; a very hard thing to acquire so young considering Kona Brewery is all the way in Hawaii.

Well-carbonated and not bottle-conditioned (no yeast sediments, soapy bubbles). This beer pours out dark gold in color with golden yellow hues with a bright white head that does not persist. Brilliant clarity. Smells of grainy wheat and light passion fruit flavors. No banana or clove aromas perceived (as those characteristics are more common with German Hefeweizens). Light bready malty sweetness carries into the background. The first taste is covered by a strong carbonic bite but fades into moderately wheaty flavors with passionfruit as a support to the malt/wheat. No hop aroma or hop flavors are present but there is an extremely low hop bitterness. The flavors are also reminiscent of pineapples. Light-medium bodied and quite refreshing with its high carbonation. Although I shouldn’t assume, I feel as if this beer benefits a lot from using an American ale yeast as opposed to the German Hefeweizen yeast since the banana/clove characteristics may have clashed with the aromas of the passion fruit and bready wheat. I can see myself enjoying this in someone’s backyard or next to a beach. A great summer beer. I’m a big fan of passion fruit and I think Kona Brewing Company did a great job pairing this flavor with a American Wheat Beer. However, I wish the passion fruit wasn’t as subtle (passion fruit has a light flavor that can be easily masked by more overwhelming flavors) and I hope to see a bottle-conditioned version.

Category 20: Fruit Beer
Aroma: 9/12
Appearance: 2/3
Flavor: 16/20
Mouthfeel: 5/5
Overall: 7/10
Total: 39/50 — B+


Thinking of Buying a House?

August 26, 2009


Unless you’ve been living under a rock or over a rainbow, you’ve surely noticed that the global economy has suffered a massive bout of what I like to call EPIC FAIL. But you might also have noticed that the month of July just posted a 9.7% increase in sales of new houses since June. I’m sure this is in no small because the government is giving $8,000 to first time homebuyers that I’ve heard can even be counted toward your down payment.

A lot of twentySomethings have been working for a few years and have stockpiled a good sum of money while not having enough of it in the market to be squandered. Many of us also are points in our lives where we’re looking to settle down, maybe buy a house and start a family. It’s only natural to follow the mold and think of buying a house these days if you still have a job and money in the bank. After all, housing prices haven’t looked like this in years!

If you’ve only recently begun thinking of buying a house, don’t forget that the price of the house is not the only thing that matters. HOA (Homeowners Association) fees are imposed on many condos and apartments, and some housing neighborhoods as well. In California, cities, counties and districts can impose Mello-Roos taxes on your property on top of the state property tax. Then there are maintenance fees that renters don’t have to think about, like when your toilet breaks or your shower leaks or your dishwasher breaks. Oh, and if you’re not paying monthly utilities for water and trash, those will officially become your responsibility. Those are all landlord problems, and you’re thinking of becoming a landlord! On top of all those there are the fees you’re going to pay just to buy the house, which may include closing and escrow fees (and buying fees if you eventually sell the house somewhere down the line).

In the interest of full disclosure, I do not own a house and I’ve never purchased one. That really means there may be even more costs I haven’t considered or mentioned, like costs associated with taking care of your lawn. But for many people this is a worthwhile investment, if not financially then just because people take pride in owning their home. For those of you looking to buy, I advise you to make use of this Rent vs. Buy Calculator provided by the New York Times website.

Happy Hunting!

An Airline Pilot With Answers

August 19, 2009


Freakonomics has an interesting feature going on with a captain of a major airline they call simply, Captain Steve. Actually, this has been going on for so long that there are multiple posts with Captain Steve answering questions continuing, to answer, and questions. They also have one guest post from Captain Steve where he goes on a bit of a tirade regarding the system of air travel. If you’ve ever thought about being a pilot, or think it might be cool, Captain Steve might well shoot down that notion.

Also, he answers some questions that every traveler has wondered (or may wonder next time) that I think everybody should read like why do all electronics need to be turned off even though I’ve left my cell phone on for the duration of a whole flight before? or How much of the flight is actually on auto-pilot? or What is the general condition of U.S. airplanes these days? and Should I prepare for death during turbulence? Ok, that last one was mine, but you get the gist!


An Even Trading Field?

August 4, 2009

The Securities and Exchange Commission, better known as the SEC, is considering a ban against so-called “flash orders.” Apparently, buy and sell information can occur in the tiny little milliseconds leading up to when information is made public. During these milliseconds, uber-computers used by certain trading platforms like Direct Edge, Nasdaq OMX and BATS can use the buy and sell information to make better trading decisions.

How does this affect you? Well, it may or may not affect you that much really. If you’re playing the markets for the long term, then it probably doesn’t matter too much. But if you’re playing for short-term gains, like options plays, then milliseconds can make a huge difference.

But isn’t it nice to know how people are trying to scam other people? And that sometimes our publicly funded regulatory bodies do, in fact, pay attention?