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Showing posts from April, 2016

Schneider Weisse Aventinus Eisbock Ale

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I know what you're thinking - didn't Tim just review this beer? No, I didn't, thank you very much. I technically reviewed the wheat doppelbock, and this is the Ale, so THERE! Yes, the two share a fabulous label, but they are different beer, and I hope they have a different taste.

The beer is a very slightly red-hued brown with a good enough head that I had to stop pouring before the bottle was emptied. The aroma is raisins, plums, really, just a heap of dark fruit. There is a heavier liquor underneath, and it's particularly inviting.

First sip is thick and fruity. It's very heavy with those same dark fruits and it's sticky and sweet while having the unrelenting texture of a bowl of overripe plums and squishy raisins. It's very nice and all, but it strikes me as a bit too much for a sipping beer. Maybe a swig...

Tip-in is that dark fruit flavor through and through. There may be some bready biscuit trying to keep things together, but it's mostly just the …

Schneider Weisse Aventinus Wheat-Doppelbock

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Another fancy-looking beer with a slightly hard to pronounce name. It's not as bad as some, but it takes a bit of effort like Leinenkugel. I inherently distrust beers that try to make themselves look to fancy with their label and they probably don't spend enough time on their beer. Let's all hope this isn't the case with this one.

The beer is a overripe plum color with a white head made up of tiny little bubbles. The aroma is dark fruits. Maybe the plum color is influencing my opinion a little bit, but I smell plum, raisins, dates, and all kinds of other heavy fruits.

First sip is echoing the aroma. In fact, just like an echo, the flavors are coming back in waves, and they seem exaggerated as a result. There is a sour taste to it that I understand is the new favorite of the hipsters, but this doesn't hit me as a hipster beer. Instead, this is an old-world sour that coincidentally is what the young-uns like. Still, it's not the kind of thing that I really enjoy.

Ghost River Midnight Magic Black Ale

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From Memphis, this is the second beer from Ghost River that I've tried. The first was pretty good until it started to warm, and then it took a nasty turn. Still, I liked it enough to give it a 2.5/5, and that is right in the middle of my scale, so it wasn't that bad. This one should be better, as I have been on a bit of a kick with dark beers of late.

It's not midnight black. Instead, it is a deep ruby with an off-white head that fizzles its way down to a vapor thin cap and leaves no lacing. The aroma is fairly faint, but it is roasted chocolate chunks. It's a little chilly today, and this is the kind of beer that would be meaty and enjoyable on a cool spring/fall evening.

First sip is earth, wood and smoke. I don't taste any of the chocolate that I smelled, and the effect of the sip is that it reminds me of a campfire in the middle of the woods. It almost makes me wish I had some marshmallows to toast and compliment this beer the right way. But, I'm an adult n…

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Eiche Doppelbock

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I have not (and will not) tried to pronounce the name of this beer. I mean, look at that thing! I know I have some German in my heritage, but seriously, do you really NEED to have your own language? What's wrong with just adopting English or at least having an English version of your name? Can't you just sell this in the US under a different name?

This beer is more red than most red or amber beers that I've had. The aroma is spices, smoke, and oak.

First sip is some kind of bitter smoke with even a slight fishy taste. The oak stands out quite a bit, as well, and it's definitely improving the strange taste that... I guess fishy is the only way I can describe it, but I'm not sure that it is the right one. The sip isn't terrible, but it's not the best thing ever. It certainly doesn't live up to the fancy label with it's nutty characters and strange language.

Tip-in is oak and smoke. Carbonation isn't intruding at all, and it just gives a tingle on …

J.K.'s Northern Neighbor Farmhouse Cider

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The last J.K.'s was over engineered and underwhelming. Until a brewer has four or so underwhelming beers under their belt, I don't like to judge them on the whole. So, this one gets a clean slate to deal with, and I certainly hope they can take advantage of that. This is a big bottle, and I expect to enjoy every drop.

It's definitely got a lot more brown than the other JK's cider. The haziness has more suspended hunks of... I'm going to assume apple than the other one. They hover in there for a while and then collect at the bottom over an extended period of time. The aroma is very reminiscent of the other one - apple wine.

First sip is very, very similar to the other - sweet and apple. I think it has less hidden tartness, but a sip would hardly bring that kind of thing out. It's nice and gentle, and it gives the idea of crispness, but I won't be fooled with a sip. I'll go for the full swig...

Tip-in is very sweet and syrupy with apple overtones. The mid…

Alpine Beer Company Pure Hoppiness

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I tried one of these beers from Alpine before, and it was pretty good. Turns out, this is yet another IPA. I have heard that an IPA is the easiest of beers to brew, but I know that some brewers have a hard time with it. A good IPA is about the best thing out there, so I'm willing to try as many as they are willing to make.

The aroma is mild pine hops and just a bit of citrus. The beer is orange more than gold, and the white head boils on down to an uneven mess on the top, but it is inviting in its disheveledness. Those hops are calling to me. They really want to get on my tongue.

First sip is suitably hoppy. The mix of hops is more mild than I would have expected, and the whole thing flows like a West coast IPA. Where are these guys from? Oh, California - I guess that makes sense. Well, this is certainly a West coast IPA from the sip, and I hope that extends to the full gulp.

Tip-in is carbonation tickle and hoppy hopness. The middle come a-riding in with a bite of hop bitterness …

Ghost River Riverbank Red Irish-Style Red Ale

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There is nothing wrong with my camera. This was the straightest label on any of the beers in the six pack, and it is... askew. I hope they were too busy paying attention to their beer's flavor, and they forgot to take care of the fit and finish of the label. At least that, I can forgive. I like a good Irish red, and I have been known to knock back many, many of them in my youth, so I am looking forward to reliving the experience (although I'm only having one this time).

The color is deep red-amber, and it's surprisingly clear. I say surprisingly, but all of the Irish Reds I've had have always been clear, so I don't know why I expected anything else. The head drops to a very thin cap on top of the beer that doesn't quite cover the whole thing; in my experience, that's about right for an Irish Red. The aroma is stronger than I remember these being, but it is a delightful sweet malt with caramel and citrus that may even be spiked with cherries.

First sip is fr…

Creed (2015)

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Is there going to be another Rocky movie after this? I mean, seriously, let the franchise die. I would say that it should be allowed to die with dignity, but that ship sailed long ago. Anyone remember Rocky 5? That giant hunk of turd should have been the last of the franchise. When Rocky Balboa came out in 2006, it was self-evident that Sylvester Stallone should not be taking off his shirt in these movies to pretend to be a fighter who is capable of going up against any current fighter. What Sly has done to his body through years of steroid and human growth hormone abuse, the body does not react well to in the long run.

So, in this movie, Stallone plays (sigh) Rocky Balboa, a beat up old boxer who now runs a restaurant named after his dead wife. He's content to just live his life with a vague celebrity that intrudes only when it's convenient for the story, and he live his life pretty much alone in his kind of crappy apartment happily enough.

Well this story isn't about the…

Apple Knocker "Sweet Knockers" Hard Cider

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Again with the ciders, I know, but I have found some truly excellent ones, and I'm always on the look out for something that would compliment my fridge on a regular basis. I've found that I tend to pick up a six pack of Hipster Repellant IPA or one of Coney Island Root Beer when I see them, but I don't have a go-to cider yet.

The color is a very pale yellow. There's a surprising amount of carbonation that made a head that had a brief but full life and there are points of nucleation in what would appear to have been a meticulously clean glass. The aroma is sweet apples, but it is very light.

First sip is more wine-like than previous ciders. But, it has that unmistakable apple vibe going on. I could see this being kind of a Fuji with its juice and sweetness all calmed down by the sheer volume of water that those things suck up. Time for a swig.

Tip-in is light carbonation tingle with unexpected tartness from the apple. It is a very, very pronounced tartness, but it goes …

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

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I have a feeling I'm doing this backwards. I started off with a 90 minute IPA, and now I'm going back to the 60 minute IPA. I assume that continually hopping and IPA for 90 minutes is going to be inherently better than 60 Minutes on the basic principle of less is worse and more is better. I know this isn't always true, and I certainly hope to enjoy this 60 minute IPA as well as I enjoyed the 90 minute.

Color is a hazy copper with a moderate white head that dissipates to a splotchy doily sitting across the top, and I find it somewhat reminiscent of the lunar surface. The aroma is almost entirely hops - citrus hops. I know I can smell the malt in there with it; it comes in the form of grain like freshly cut barley.

First sip is surprisingly balanced and somewhat sweet from the malt that I only got a whiff of in the background of the aroma. It's mostly smooth, but it has some pine hops prickling through that malt. If you told me I can only sip this beer, I might be conten…

Evil Twin "The Problem Solver" Imperial IPA

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Evil Twin is all over the place with their beers. They have some great ones and some terrible ones and everything in between. Well, this was a gift from a friend, and I'm sure he scoured these pages just to make sure I hadn't already tried this beer. He was right. Given the schizophrenic nature of Evil Twin's brewing habits, I'm not sure I would have given them the chance otherwise.

The beer is a brown-orange with a somewhat sticky head that dissipates to a patchy cap on top of the beer. The aroma is orange and pine with a light biscuit addendum. It smells good, and I'm thirsty, so it's time to find out where the hops hit the palate.

First sip is a tiny smidge more bitter than I would like, but it is fairly well balance as a whole. The first impression was a lot more balanced than the final analysis, as the aftertaste is very bitter indeed. I'm guessing a proper swig will sort this out.

Tip-in is mostly pine and carbonation in the front of the mouth. The mi…

Yazoo Hopry

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While I had a rough start with Yazoo, they've subsequently had a very good track record that I don't think I give them enough credit for. Brewed in Music City, I assume they didn't want to get sued by the Grand Ole Opry, so they just took the last word and made it Hopry. That's fine, but I bet they could have worked out a deal with the venerable institution. After all, they're a local brew.

The color is orange with a gold tint added. The head is light and fluffy, and it has good staying power while not being overwhelming. Lacing is a bit more sparse than expected, but the bubbles are slow to move down, and they really are very pretty. The aroma is hoppy, but it is - again - not overwhelming. The citrus is calm and mild malt backs it up nicely.

First sip is extremely hoppy, and I like it. It is way more hoppy than the nose told me, and there are pine hops that really seem to be taking over. I don't know where the citrus went, but the pine is really dominating ev…

Intruders (2015)

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This movie is not to be confused with a movie released in 2015 called The Intruders. I haven't seen that movie, and I genuinely didn't know it existed, but it is the number one search when I was looking for a cast list for this movie.

This is a movie about a poor woman who suffers from agoraphobia. She is in a lovely old house with her brother, and she gets meals delivered to her every day, so she doesn't have to go outside. Her brother is dying, and he is pretty much the last person she has ties to in the world. Really, the only other person she interacts with is the delivery boy who brings her the meals they eat and - more recently - the lawyer who is helping her brother sort out his final wishes.

When the time comes that her brother dies, she quite predictably cannot face going outside, so she misses the funeral. It is at this pivotal point that some evil bad guys break into the house (assuming everyone has gone to the funeral) to try to steal what they assume is a lot…

Shmaltz Star Trek Vulcan Ale "The Genesis Effect" Red Session IPA

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This really puts me in mind of a dive bar/pool hall that I visited in Decatur, IL that was called Starship or something like that. It really wasn't Star Trek themed, but the menu was clearly written by a fan. This is a poor example of someone shoehorning a Star Trek theme into something that really shouldn't work like that. I mean, the artwork on that bottle wouldn't have made it to the cover of a fan fiction story. But, let's see if they can brew beer...

It's a red session ale that pours a hazy red with a short white cap that reduces to a very thin veil of sticky bubbles, longing to fly free amongst the stars. The aroma is citrus hops, deep earth, and caramel. I'm still not sure what to expect.

First sip is watery up front, but very meaty toward the tail. It's more complex and less mainstream than the Vulcan culture it reflects. The earth in the end is pretty harsh and gravelly, but it's not immediately repulsive or anything. However, it's not a ni…

Best Damn Cherry Cola

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I had the Orange soda, and it honestly wasn't that bad - it got better as I got used to the taste, so I liked it well enough by the end of the six pack. Likewise, I have had good hard root beers, and I find myself picking up six packs of the Coney Island whenever I want a sweet drink some evening. Best Damn's root beer was not terrible, but it wasn't one of the best out there. I hope their cherry cola is better.

It has the appearance of cherry cola. Mind you, it looks like kind of flat. It's not actually flat - but it has the impression of cola that was maybe opened the day before, and the lid didn't fit quite perfectly while it was in the fridge overnight. The aroma is significantly more cherry than either Wild Cherry Pepsi or Cherry Coke, and it puts me more in mind of a bar making cherry cola by adding grenadine to cola and being a bit heavy on the cherry.

First sip is... fine. It's certainly not the best cherry cola I've ever had before, but it isn'…

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

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Brooklyn Brewing has been under the radar for a while, but the three chances that I've had to taste their beers have been very good twice and outstanding once. That's a good track record. I've had chocolatestouts before, and the issue normally arises from the addition of chocolate to the brew. This one, however, does things the right way - they add malts that give the beer a chocolate taste and aroma without needing to stoop to the level of adding actual chocolate.

The beer is black, as advertised. Around the very edges, I can see that it is actually just really, really brown. The head leaves enough lacing to let me know it was there, but it's not exactly painted to the sides. The aroma is chocolately and roasted malt. I think there may be some sour notes coming through, and there is a bitter and raisin twinge in there, too.

First sip is pretty nice. It's sweeter than I expected, and it definitely has quite a bit of chocolate taste about it. Often, the chocolate ov…

Concussion (2015)

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I'm from Pittsburgh. I remember watching the Steelers winning Superbowls on TV when I was a kid. I remember Mean Joe Green, John Stallworth, Lynn Swann, and Jack Ham. Most of all, I remember Mike Webster; he was legendary. Unlike the guys who got all the screen time, Mike plodded out his life in the middle of the line. He enjoyed hitting people and wore short sleeves in the snow. If it was cold and muddy, Mike was in his element.

It was much later in life that I heard that Mike's life went horribly wrong. I could never imagine Iron Mike living in a car or sleeping at a bus station - these were just unfathomable for someone who was so beloved and famous. It turns out, there was a lasting issue from all of that football, but it took him dying for someone to figure it out.

Will Smith plays a doctor from Nigeria who had come over to the states and gotten a LOT of education to be a pathologist. He moved to Pittsburgh to work under Albert Brooks as Dr. Cyril Wecht. Albert does the i…

Dogfish Head Oak Aged Noble Rot

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Dogfish Head is excellent! Well, maybe kinda crappy. No wait, I mean great! The heck with it, let's settle on middle of the road. Suffice it to say that these guys experiment enough to keep things interesting, but they have that spark that indicates that they are fairly skilled at the whole thing. You're going to have some losers in there when you experiment, but at least you're pushing the envelope.

Pale yellow and clear as a summer morning sky, the head on this beer dissipates very quickly to form a simple single-layer mask of bubbles on top. The aroma is pungent and fruity. It smells of grapes and apples along with grains and spices. Honestly, it's mostly apples. If I was just judging based on the aroma I would swear this was another hard apple cider.

First sip is a WHOLE LOT different from the aroma. It's soured wine made from green apples and some very, very funky yeast. The spices appear to be there so that the taste doesn't run away with itself, but it i…