Posts

Showing posts from October, 2016

A+R Ales "I Do" IPA

Image
On the occasion of City Sliquors' third anniversary of bringing goodness to beer lovers in the area, they had a special on growlers, so I picked this one up. They were really busy, and I pretty much picked the first IPA that I saw - I didn't even get a sample. So, I head into this with no real knowledge of A+R or what I should expect aside from my experience with IPAs in general. Should be fun.

The very clear pale gold beer leave no lacing and has not but a scant head. Many points of nucleation at the very bottom of the glass contribute to the strengthening of the thin cap at the top, so the beer still manages to look good and inviting, despite the lack of sticky, hoppy head. The aroma is is lemon citrus hops and light bread malt.

First sip is strong, but not harsh. It's got the citrus and bread, but it also has spices and it is really crisp. I don't know what else is making this up, but I can say that the strong taste doesn't mean that it couldn't be sipped. T…

Ballast Point Dead Ringer Oktoberfest

Image
The first two Ballast Point beers that I reviewed demonstrated a clear ability to get things done in an orderly fashion that brings out what the type of beer is supposed to be. So, when I went back to the beer store, I got another one. Should I have gotten more? Possibly, but I didn't. Maybe next time - if this one works out.

The beer is a rich mahogany-burgundy with quite a bit of carbonation sending bubbles to the top to die a peaceful death. The patchy head of dying bubbles valiantly struggles to hang onto life as long as they can. The aroma is spices, dark fruits, and malt - pretty much the template for an Oktoberfest, if my past experience is anything to go by.

First sip is not as heavy on the front-end as I'm used to with these types of beers. That said, there is a lot of complexity, and that is totally what I was expecting. Still, it's all rear-loaded - that front end is almost lager simple with sweet malt, but that finish has the dark fruits and spices to really ma…

Shmaltz Star Trek 50 Golden Anniversary Ale (The Trouble with Tribbles)

Image
A gift from the same friend that gave me the last Star Trek beer I tried, this is also from the same brewery. That one wasn't the best, but I have hopes that hops will make this one much better. Star Trek should certainly be picky about how good the beer is that they put their name on, but they've put their name on some pretty shoddy stuff before, so I don't know.

The beer is definitely golden. The head is dense and sticky enough to make me think that it may deserve the name of "ale." It's not patchy like an IPA, but it has possibilities. The aroma is more spices that have a right to be here; the bready malt is a lot more forward than I'd expect from an ale.

First sip is aggressively caustic. It's odd that it manages to have the difficulty in the spiciness and grains while also managing to be excessively watery. So, not a sipping beer, this. Will it be a swigging beer? I have to admit going into the next phase with more than a modicum of trepidation, …

Founders PC Pils Pilsner

Image
Pilsners in general have done pretty well on my blog, and that surprises me, as I would never have picked pilsners as one of my favorite styles, but I guess this is one of the things I am learning as time moves on. After all, I thought the same about other kinds of beers only to be proven wrong then, too.

The beer is a bright yellow, and if it was slightly more thin, I might mistake it for a macro brew. Instead, I enjoy the rather scant head that disappears pretty quickly to a light cap of bubbles that leaves no lacing. The aroma is a bit of pine, grapefruit, and grains.

First sip is... simple, I guess, is the most descriptive term. It's grains, some citrus, and some pine, but - no - I think the best word is maybe "crisp." It is sharp and direct, but it has malt as a kind of a grainy bread (like a five grain) cushion for the whole thing, too. It's straight-forward and actually not bad for sipping. Gulping? Let's find out.

Tip-in is more bready than grainy. The ca…

Terrapin Single Origin Coffee Stout

Image
I hesitate to even do this review. A man I fully trust to pick out a good beer (who runs the very helpful City Sliquors establishment I've spoken fondly about in the past) saved be a four pack of these and said how good it was. Even though I don't like coffee in general, I know he knows his stuff, so I figured I would try it out.

The beer is downright black. There's no ruby or deep brown that simply masquerades as black - it is black through and through. The tan head leaves a ghost of lacing as it boils down to an uneven head that rests atop a beer that smells of coffee grounds and nothing else. The coffee is overpowering, as I suspected it would be.

First sip is very bitter, cold coffee. I'm actually wondering to myself right now what it would taste like if I added sugar and milk to this. Would it taste better and make me tolerate it like I can tolerate coffee if I have to? It's clear this isn't the beverage for me, but I'm going to keep this going for sci…

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA

Image
I really liked the 60-minute IPA, and I loved the 90-minute IPA, so the ever-friendly Jeremy, proprietor of the much praised (in this blog) City Sliquors, gave me one of these as a gift, as he had pulled it aside for some of his regular customers. I thank him with all of my liver.

The ungodly pretty beer is a deep brownish amber color with a head that just doesn't want to be there, and it goes away in a huff soon after being poured, leaving the familiar ring and a slight layer that appears to be a single bubble deep across the top like a lilypad of joy.  The aroma is very, very faint, and it may have some malt and some hops, but I'm almost definitely projecting onto it.

First sip is more like a Belgian ale than anything. It's got all that sweet malt that has such a thick, bready taste to it that really makes me want to upend the glass and just say to hell with this review. But, that would be a disservice to you, my few and not impressively loyal readers, and to the stalwor…

Wiseacre Holy Candy Belgian-Style Dubbel

Image
Honestly, this is probably the best label of all of the Wiseacre beers so far. This has a wacky couple of angels and... I don't know, leaves and stuff? I'm sure it looked better before it was applied to a bottle, but the curve of the bottle distorts it a bit and makes it pretty hard to read. But, like the others, this is not for reading - it's for drinking.

The deep mahogany-hued beer sports a head that fizzles to a bashful ring around the sides of the glass. The aroma is unusual spices on top of heavy malt. The nose gets some dark fruits and raisins behind the rest, and it is clear that this dark beverage has hidden depths.

First sip confirms those depths, as I can taste nuts, those dark fruits, oak, and quite a bit of other deliciousness. The heaviness and depth of the beer is very nice, and it's exactly what I would expect from a dubbel. But what should I expect from a swig?

Tip-in is oak and plums with a carbonation fizzle keeping things light. Figs and raisins add…

Urban Family Kriek Fruit Ale

Image
This is a kind of beer that has sour cherries that compliment the rest of the beverage. I am told that hipsters enjoy the sour beers, and this may be targeted at them. If so, I may not like it. I certainly hope that the style, which traces its roots to the Belgians, has enough staying power that even I might enjoy it.

The raspberry colored beverage was captured in the picture with a bit of a head, but it was a head very similar to one you'd find on a soda or a wine cooler. As a result, it is ephemeral and disappears very quickly. The aroma is very light, but it has berries and flowers.

First sip is sour, sour, sour, and a bit of sour. I'm not a fan of sour beers, but I like sour candies (or I did like 20 years ago when I ate candy), so this has to walk a line between them. It doesn't. Instead, it's just overpowering sour on top of what might be a good beverage, but I may never know, as the sour is just way too much. A swig? That's how I roll.

Tip-in is sour cherrie…

Dansk Mjød Viking Blod Mead

Image
Not the first mead that I've had. The last one was possibly too much of a surprise to me for me to really enjoy it as I should, despite Sloan's tenacious care and expertise. It's possible I just won't like mead, don't like this kind of wine, or am really just a beer guy at heart (which is what I expect). Let's find out.

The beverage is honey colored and quite nice looking. There's no head to speak of, as it is a honey wine, there shouldn't be, as I found out the last time I tried one. The aroma is once again very wine-like, and I think I've come to appreciate wine (in a limited way) so I can be a bit more objective (although, let's be honest, this blog is about my subjective opinion when you come down to it). The smell is of a very strong wine, indeed. Lots of alcohol happening here (19% ABV).

First sip is a strangely oaky wine. Once I hit the word "wine" there, I am pretty much not going to be able to be much more exact. I don't k…

Ballast Point Grunion Pale Ale

Image
Another Ballast Point beer. It seems that when I get ahold of a brewer I've never had, I tend to get a few of their beers and try them in sequence. I like to see the direction a brewer is going to see if I want to follow them further. With some, the answer is no. With others, it's HECK YES!

The delightfully golden honey beverage holds up the sticky, sticky head that leaves such lacing on the side that I'm thinking this might actually be an IPA instead of a more pedestrian pale ale (mind you, the label has a subscript of "hoppy pale ale"). The aroma is hoppy, but the hops are musty and a mixture of citrus, pine, and I can even smell a bit of sweet malt there (but I might only be dreaming).

First sip is stronger than a regular pale ale, and it has a bit of funky mustiness from the hops that are just made of pollen or something with their mustiness. They are strong, but as the beer gets further from freezing cold and closer to nice and cool, the hops kind of relax, …

Wiseacre Ameliorator Doppelbock Lager

Image
Wiseacre continues the series of pretty crappy looking labels. The other two beers showed promise, but they both failed in their own ways. I'm looking for these guys to start brewing truly spectacular beers sometime very soon - in fact, they may already brew the perfect beer, but I haven't had a chance to try it yet. Well, let's see if this is it.

The color is a deep red to the point of blackness. The head is pretty minimal, and the very thin cap left after a while is patchy, but it grips the sides well enough. It only grips at the rim, though. There's pretty much no lacing going on at all. The aroma is rich and deep. It has dark fruits and sweet malt just bubbling around (I notice quite a bit of sediment swirling around in there when I hold it up to the light).

First sip is firm. It's a heavy dark fruit and bread just all up in my face saying, "Yea, boy! This is how we do it in The Acre!" It's not unrefined, but it's bold and untamed. The carbona…