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Showing posts from June, 2016

Crooked Stave Hop Savant "NZ Pacifica" Brettanomyces IPA

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It's the final beer in the series that I went into with much anticipation and wonderment, but I ultimately have been a bit disappointed with the project. From first to last, they were all pretty... moderate. Was it because of the yeast or the hops? Was it something else? I wish I could tell you, but I can't really recommend any of them based on the rather high price that they are charging. Maybe this one will break the mold.

It might just be my eyes playing tricks on me, but there seems to be a tower of gold inside the cloudy yellow-orange beer. The head barely built at all during pouring compared to its positively effervescent sisters I've had. The head is also less clumpy and it leaves a lot less lacing on the sides of the glass. The aroma is WAY less pungent than the others of its ilk. Yes, it still has the funky yeast and the citrus, but it is like it's been turned from a 7 to a 4 or 3.

First sip is an unexpectedly strong one. It's heavy tropical fruit at the b…

Crooked Stave Hop Savant "Centennial" Brettanomyces IPA

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Fourth in my series of Crooked Stave project beers that feature a different hop, and I've been impressed mostly by the fact that the yeast that they picked is too much for most of the hops. The brettanomyces yeast just stomps on everything in its path, and I have yet to find a hop that manages to stand up to it. Will the Centennial hops change things?

If anything, the beer is a slightly lighter shade of dusty copper-orange than the other three. The head is exactly the same, and I still very much like it. The white, sticky, patchy head that leaves lacing on the sides of the glass like a real champ. Craft hoppy beers should aspire to have a head this nice. The aroma is, again, overwhelmed by the brettanomyces yeast. There's still some citrus in there from the hops, but it is much less than the others.

First sip is less... spiky than the others. Instead, it seems relatively mild for a sour, funky beer. The citrus is really, really mild. It's like a mango or a tangerine rather…

Crooked Stave Hop Savant "Galaxy" Brettanomyces IPA

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The third in the series of Brettanomyces-based beer with a different type of hop in each. I really wish they had picked a more... pedestrian yeast so that the hops could be featured a lot more. Instead, the yeast seems to overwhelm the hops altogether, and that almost defeats the purpose of these beers.

The color... should I even comment? It is the exact same hue of murky copper-orange as the other two of this series. I'm also getting used to the smell; this one is very orange with a heap of those funky Brettanomyces yeast turning things around. I've gotten used to the smell, and it's pretty inviting at this point.

First sip is funk and citrus, as you may have expected. It has that bitterness about it that is almost sour. It was an uncommon and nearly unpleasant taste the first time I came across it, but I've grown very much accustomed to it, and it now makes my mouth water. Is that a good thing? I hope so.

Tip-in is funk and citrus. It echoes the essence of the sip, a…

Crooked Stave Hop Savant "Amarillo" Brettanomyces IPA

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Second in my series of five beers featuring different hops, and I really can't describe how excited I am to try all of these. While the Falconer's Flight was a bit... challenging... it was still a good experience and a perfectly acceptable beer. I move onto the Amarillo hops, which I am somewhat surprised to find out that there is actually a patent on. I don't know why I'm surprised, but here we are.

The cloudy color is virtually identical to the Falconer's Flight's dusty copper-orange. The head is much thicker, and it also leaves lacing on the sides like a champ. The aroma is more brettanomyces yeast - kind of funky and citrus. This one is more funky than the last.

First sip is FAR funkier than the Falconer's. It also seems less citrus than the other one, too. It has orange in it, but it's somewhat more caustic than I had expected.  The beer is very dry, and it is making me thirsty. Maybe a full swig could sort this out...

Tip-in is gentle carbonation …

Good People Snake Handler Double IPA

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Okay, the Good People beer that I reviewed last time didn't rate as highly as I had hoped. The fact is, that one got better as it heated up a bit, and subsequent beers were definitely better than the 1.0 that it got. BUT, I don't make it a habit of changing the rating based on mass quantity, so it stays with that rating for now. Maybe this can be the Good People banner holder.

It's a copper color with a bit more orange than it should probably have. The lacing from the head is impressive, even if the head is fairly minuscule. In fact, that may make it more impressive. The aroma is mostly hops - citrus with a hint of pine.

First sip is a strong one. Its hops over some more hops, but the citrus and pine combo is calmed a bit with a crackery malt. It has a harsh aftertaste that mellows a bit - may even become sweet - but I get the feeling that this beer should be drunk by the swig; and that's my thing.

Tip-in is hops (isn't that so predictable?). Thee is caramel along …

Crooked Stave Hop Savant "Falconer's Flight" Brettanomyces IPA

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Got a bunch of these Brettanomyces beers recently, and I'll be picking through them one by one. The only difference between them, as far as I can tell, is the type of hop that is used in each bottle. This one is "Falconer's Flight" and I have literally no idea what that is supposed to mean to me, the beer consumer. I'd say they put this beer together with a lot of thought and not enough marketing.

The beer is a very, very cloudy bright copper-orange color with a white head that has an admirable amount of stickiness that really clamps on hard to the sides of the glass. The aroma is citrus out the wazoo. The citrus is mostly orange in nature, and it is quite enticing. I'm going in for a sip.

First sip is wildly different than anything I had expected. The citrus bite was expected, but the raw fruit juice concentrate was way different than pretty much anything I've had before. The bitterness is right through the drink, and it culminates in a sourness that, un…

Goose Island Four Star Pils

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I like pilsners on the whole, and (early on in this blog) I found the one I can use as a yardstick in the Noble Pilsner from Sam Adams. I don't expect this one to match up with that one, but it claims to be a four star beer (out of what?) so they better bring something unique and awesome. If they do, I guess we both win.

The beer is a mostly clear golden color with a fluffy white head that leaves lacing that many other beers would aspire to have. The aroma is a bit grassy, floral, and even a little nutty. The smell is the EXACT smell I remember the Penn Brewery smelling like when I would have lunch there. They brew exclusively German-style beers at Penn, and they have some of the best Bratwurst I've ever had.

First sip is not a bad beer at all. It's a lot more bitter than I expected from a pilsner, but it has that bready, cracker, slightly nutty flavor that will bring people back to ask for more. The hops are noticeable enough, and they are probably more forward than in mo…

Stone Enjoy By 07.04.16 IPA

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With the reputation that Stone has, I really expected them to be middle of the road (it's hard to live up to the hype) but I'll be damned if they don't produce some fine damn beers. I bought one that tells me not to drink it until it is ready, so it's sitting there waiting for time to pass. This one is the opposite - they want me to drink it as soon as I can, as it's ready and fresh. From my visits to taverns that brew their own beers, I have found that fresh beer is definitely the way to go most of the time.

The gold beverage has only the lightest of hazes. The white head leaves not a bubble on the side of the glass. Actually, I see some lacing now. Quite a bit of lacing, really. The aroma is grapefruit/citrus and pine over bread malt. It has a certain funk about it that can't be denied, and I used to think that funk was a bad thing, but some of the beers I've had recently had funk that changed my mind.

First sip is mostly citrus with a bread back-end. The…

Good People "The Bearded Lady" American Wheat Ale

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Not the first Good People beer that I've had, but it's the first that I've reviewed. It's probably not going to benefit it that it's a wheat beer, but I've been surprised by styles of beer that I thought I didn't like before. Hell, I remember having one wheat beer that was outstanding from Hoegaarden. Maybe this will improve on that.

A highly yellow beer with a nicely sticky head leaves lacing that would put many a beer to shame. The aroma is heavy grains and a bit of sweet malt - and I notice lemongrass bringing some more depth to the smell.

First sip is kind of tasteless. If I struggle, I can taste the wheat and a bit of dough, but there isn't enough substance to really give the beer a defining taste at all. I'm certainly hoping that the beer improves with a full gulp, but I can't say I have a lot of confidence at this point.

Tip-in is carbonation burn and lemon. The grains are trying to assert, but they fail pretty miserably. The middle rolls…

Honey Grail Boudica's Uprising Sparkling Honey Mead

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The last mead I had was a whole new experience for me, so I wasn't prepared for it and I probably didn't give it the fair shake it deserved. I ran into a similar experience with the hard ciders when I tried my first one. Well, I at least have a reference point for this one, so I expect I should start to be a little more reliable when reviewing them.

The color of this mead is much lighter than the last one I tried. Its status as a sparkling mead becomes evident immediately, as the bottle hisses upon opening and has a whole lot of bubbles when poured that diminish to absolutely none on top. The color is so light that it reminds me of a white wine. The aroma is also wine-like. It's more prickly than wine, though, and has a sweet an unkempt edge about it.

First sip is not bad, but it's a bit more antiseptic than I expected. It's sweet on the tongue at first, but then the alcohol kind of kicks the back of the throat hard. It gives the impression of herbs and spices with…

Against the Grain Rico Sauvin Double IPA

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The first Against the Grain beer I had was a very good beer with a very poorly drawn picture on the can. This one also has a lousy picture, so (if the pattern holds true) it should be a tasty beer. This is a double IPA, and I really like IPAs, so let's assume this is going to be really, really good going in and hope that I don't get my hopes crushed.

The clear, deep gold beer with a brown tint has a nice and sticky head that leaves lacing like a champ. This is the look of an IPA, that's for sure. The aroma reinforces that impression with fruitiness and sweet malt on top of a gentle bed of hops. It's very nice and noticeably calm for a *double* India pale ale.

First sip is exceedingly complex, but I'm tasting grapefruit, grapes, apricot, bread, and even floral hops. The beer has a certain amount of sour to it that I'm associating with the grapefruit, but it's not the best thing I could taste in there. I'd gladly give up the sour for the bitterness of the…

Aktienbrauerei Kaufbeuren Hell

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This beer from ABK abides by the German purity law, so it contains fewer ingredients than a loaf of bread. They claim to have been making beer since 1308, and that... is a long time to be making beer. Has their recipe changed in the intervening time? No idea, but I only have this beer to try, so back off.

The beer is a very clear yellow gold with a white head that tries to leave lacing, but it just doesn't have enough staying power. The aroma is barley malt and a bit of dough.

First sip is a bit sour on the back end. Other than that, it's very...beer. The barley is pretty much the structure of the beer upon which a bit of citrus has been placed, but the barley really overwhelms a bunch. There is a hint of the bready dough that I smelled before, but it's distant at best.

Tip in is mild carbonation tingle and barley. There might be a hint of citrus (I'm thinking orange) in there with it. The middle comes along with a very gentle and smooth character. Some beers would be …

Sixpoint Sweet Action

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This is my second Sixpoint beer. The Bengali was not terrible, but it lacked most of what was necessary to break free from the doldrums of average beer-level deliciousness. This one shares the strange packaging of the other, and I'm still not a fan. It's a stupid gimmick, and it detracts from a lovely (if not delicious enough) beer.

The beer is a deep amber with a sticky, sticky head. The lacing is positively plastered to the sides of the glass with a fervor scarcely before seen. The aroma is pine hops over sweet, sweet malt, honey, and grains. It, like its sister, appears to be a better beer than its energy drink can would suggest.

First sip is sweet, and very, very mild. It's smooth, and it doesn't seem to assert much in the way of character. It comes off as a very simple beer with just the hops and honey to make any lasting impression. I freely admit that I was expecting something more from this beer. Maybe more lies in the gulp.

Tip-in is stronger than expected car…

Sixpoint Bengali

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I'm not sure about a beer that comes in a can that is this similar to an energy drink can. Are they aiming at hipsters, corporate types, adrenaline junkies, or what? Is it possible that they're just trying to be different than the other beer makers out there? I have no idea about any of these things, and packaging is just that - it rarely influences the actual taste.

This is one good looking beer. It looks like the picture you have of beer when you close your eyes and think about a beer. There's a slight orange tint to the gold color, and the white head is sticky as all-get-out. Lacing on the glass is copious and dramatic. The aroma is somewhat floral along with the greater pine, and there is a bit of a funk about it that isn't entirely bad.

First sip is raw power of hop. Yes, I can taste grain and such behind it, but the hops and their accompanying bitterness is right out there in the front of everything. It's really strong and overwhelming anything else that migh…

Tailgate Peanut Butter Milk Stout

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This is my second stout with peanut butter in it. It's not a flavor I would normally associate with beers in general, and the last one was really not my kind of beer. I think maybe Terrapin was just trying too hard with the chocolate stout, and maybe a milk stout is the better alternative.

It pours a very predictable so-brown-it's-black with a thin head that leaves more lacing than it has any right to leave. The aroma is predictably sweet peanut butter. I assume the sweet tinge is being brought by the milk stout's natural sweetness from the milk sugars, and it makes it seem almost like the liquid form of a Reese's peanut butter cup.

First sip is a peanut butter base with a lot of other stuff. The effect is of a peanut butter-vanilla ice cream, and it's really good. I could see sipping this all day long and enjoying myself the whole time. However, my normal process is to swig this properly, and I'll do that right now.

Tip-in is carbonation tingle, peanut butter,…

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

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Am I a fanboy? I mean, I have really enjoyed the resurgence of Marvel superheros, even though I always considered myself to be a DC Comics guy. I loved Batman and Superman when I was collecting comics so many years ago, but I could appreciate Spider-Man and the Hulk, too. The X-men were too much of a soap opera, and Captain America was just a lame guy who took steroids to be just good enough to get his butt handed to him by Aquaman if they ever crossed paths.

Nevertheless, I thought the first Captain America movie was pretty good, and the second one was even better. This one was a bit of a wild card, though, as it was supposed to summarize the very complicated and nuanced Civil War story line, and that means that it includes a lot of characters who aren't Cap. Yes, we still see Chris Evans reprise his role of Johnny Storm Captain America (from The Avengers) with Robert Downey Jr. (from The Avengers) and also Avengers Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, …

Founders Mosaic Promise

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Founders produced one stinker, but most of their beers have been from medium to damn good. In fact, the most recent beer got the very rarely found top score on my blog, and that says something. This is branded as an "ale" with a single kind of hop and a single kind of malt. This seems odd to me, as most brewers try to mix up a batch of things to build a beer out of complimentary components that produce a delicious beverage. I'm curious about how this one will turn out.

The golden beer with a white, sticky head leaves a good amount of lacing on the sides of the glass while the aroma is a slightly funky hops with bready yeast backing it up. It's not an India Pale Ale, but it almost has the character of one to the nose. Turns out, there's a reason beer is imbibed, and that's because it is best judged through the taste buds.

First sip is more hoppy than your standard ale, but it's odd. Maybe I'm influenced by the label, but its single hop is like listenin…

Devil's Backbone Skull Crushing Ape Schwarz-Weizen-Doppelbock

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I've had two beers from these guys before, and one of them was pretty good, and the other was just okay. Two beers aren't enough to judge a whole brewery, so let's add another to the list. This strange combination schwarz-weizen-dopplebock may knock it out of the park, but it may also be a bit ambitious for any brewer to attempt. Let's see what we get, anyway.

The brown beer makes such a good effort to be black that I'll give it the extra 2 degrees of color to get the whole way there. The head is pretty minimal, but what's there is a very light tan and not sticky at all, so no lacing for me this evening. The aroma is very strong with this one. I smell vanilla, smoke, oak, oats, fruit, and spices. My mouth waters in anticipation.

First sip is a fairly strong wheat, bananas, and spices. The aroma does not evenly match up with this sip. The aroma was definitely better than this. It was more gentle, and it had more levels than this. The sip really strikes me as a s…