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Showing posts from December, 2016

Ommegang "Game of Thrones" Valar Dohaeris Belgian Style Tripel Ale

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The only two Ommegang beers I've had were Game of Thrones themed, and they were both really damn good. This tripel is the third distinct style, and their track record would indicate that it's going to be a really fantastic interpretation of the style. While I was skeptical of the GoT tie-in at first, these guys have made a believer of me.

The golden amber beer has that sticky head that I love, love, love. Lacing is very nice, so the overall effect of just looking at the beer is like gazing into the face of an angel. The aroma is spices with yeast, grainy malt, and even some hops. The scent reminds me of the bret beers that I had with their overpowering yeast, but the yeast here seems to take more of a back seat - I still think I can smell it, though.

First sip is one hell of a mouthful. This beer has a big character, and it is sloshing that character from side to side, pushing its way through the crowd of other beers and generally making itself known to everyone around it (if …

Devil's Backbone "Schwartz Bier" German Style Black Lager

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The Devil's Backbone Brewing Company is trying, and I give them credit for it. A proper black lager is hard to get right, and even good brewers can get it horribly wrong. How will this small Lexington-based brewer deal with something this complex? Well, I hope they figure this puzzle out.

The suitably black beer has a ruby fringe to it and a very thin tan head. The tiny patch of bubbles that remains on the top is just enough to let you know that this beer isn't flat, but it's calm. The aroma is smoked oats, vanilla, nuts, and coffee.

First sip is more chocolate than I could smell. The carbonation is notable for its splashy kind of smack and run on the tongue. It still has the stuff from the aroma, but I don't know that I can really pick out the best of the beer. I suspect this will take a proper gulp.

Tip-in is kind of harsh with a buzz of carbonation just dulling everything around it in an icy shower of bubbling. Somewhere in the back, barley and chocolate scream for …

Dogfish Head Flesh & Blood IPA

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From the high to the low, Dogfish Head has been almost entirely on the positive side of my ratings. Yes, there is always one outlier, but they experiment and I get to enjoy the results pretty reliably. This one is a head scratcher as to what the hell it is supposed to be: is it a red or an IPA? Well, there is one sure way to find out.

The red hue almost looks like it was added after the brewing process happened. Maybe I'm being cynical, but that's the impression I get. The aroma is surprisingly hoppy. I say it's surprising, as I expected it to be more like a red or amber ale, and it is clearly an IPA from the aroma. I wonder what the taste will bring.

First sip is a sweet and hoppy beer. I had definitely not expected sweet malt to be foremost in the beer, and it takes a back seat to the hops, but the malt is making me aware of its location and the reason that it is here - to combat bitterness and rise victorious like a gladiator holding the severed head of his enemy. Okay,…

Blue Moon White IPA

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People encounter Blue Moon and think of just one kind of beer. I have encountered many different versions, and they range pretty wildly. Naming this one White IPA instead of the Belgian White that most people think of when they think of Blue Moon likely leads to no end of confusion, and they may want to re-think their marketing strategy.

The hazy straw-colored beer has a fairly sticky and patchy head that lets the aroma of hops right on through. I'm not sure what makes this a "white" IPA as opposed to another style or color, but it gives the impression of pretty much being exactly what I expect an IPA to be.

First sip is a fairly nice IPA. It has hops all front and center, and the mix is mostly citrus, a bit of floral, and maybe even some pine. While it is heavy on the hops, it isn't heavy on the bitterness that usually accompanies it. Instead, the grainy, wheat-like malt and the yeast temper it very nicely, and the effect is of a well balanced sip. But, a sip is onl…

Bud Light Lime

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Given the last experience with the best that Budweiser has to offer, you may ask why I'm even bothering with this one. Well, a guy I encountered recently could not stop talking about the awesomeness of this beer, and I had purchased him a 12-pack. He gave me one to review, and I am dutifully reviewing it now.

The beer is pale yellow with pretty much no head to speak of - why pretend to be a real beer at all? The very light aroma is citrus and malt, which is pretty much exactly what I would expect. I can't describe the amount of apprehension I have before I even take the first sip, but I'm doing this for science, dammit!

First sip is pretty damn lousy. I think the lime is successfully covering up most of the bad taste of the original Bud Light, but that doesn't mean all of it's covered, and the lime is pretty much playing the part of the lime in a Corona - masking the bad things while trying to bring out the good. Unfortunately, I wanted a beer - not a lime drink.

T…

Seagram's Hard Soda Orange Cream

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The first of this bunch didn't go so great. If Seagram's uses the same formula for all of these hard sodas, than all four of these will have been pretty much a waste of time. That's a negative attitude, though, and I have been very surprised by beverage before, so I'm going to assume that this will be awesome.

Am I a nut, or did you also expect this to be orange? I'm not saying that they should add coloring or anything, but I'm just surprised that this looks more like a cream soda than something orange. Nope, no orange. Instead, the white beverage is cloudy and has a moderate number of points of nucleation around the bottom of the glass. The aroma is the same wine cooler-esque alcohol over top of a more appropriate orange peel.

First sip is orangey, but it's like an orange slice mixed with a diet 7-Up or something similar. On top of that is the alcohol taste of the wine cooler variety. I'm not sure that the sip was a good one, but it was relatively inof…

Seagram's Grape Hard Soda

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I've had hard root beer, hard Dr. Pepper, hard cherry cola, hard Mountain Dew, and hard orange soda. I think I've had even more than that, but I'm not going to keep doing searches on my own site - feel free to do your own in the top left search box. It's powered by The Google, so it should be pretty good. Out of the multi-pack that I got of these Seagram's, the grape is one of the two that I was most looking forward to, so I started with it.

The beverage is expectedly dark purple with no head - soda doesn't normally keep one for very long, so that's just what we want. The smell is very clearly alcohol-heavy grape. I can't say that the smell is enticing or even very promising, and that's a crying shame. But, a smell will only get you so far.

First sip isn't great. They clearly tried to cover the heavy alcohol with some serious artificial grape flavoring. Additionally, it's very sweet - it's like they took something like a grape wine coole…

Little Harpeth Upstream San Fran Lager

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I very much liked the only other beer I had from this local Nashville brewer. I'm not sure I've tried a west coast lager before, so this'll be a new experience, and I look forward to most of those. Early on in my blog life, I claimed to not like lagers, but a succession of good ones changed my mind. A good representative of any style can really show you what makes that style stand out and what people like about them.

The deep amber-to-copper colored beer is hazy and topped with a nominal white head that could fool me into believing that it was thick and patchy, if I hadn't been the one who poured it and realized that there wasn't much head at all. The aroma is malty and smells faintly of corn, which is pretty odd, I think, and I am questioning my own nose.

First sip is certainly inoffensive. It is malt heavy and generally sweet with heavy graininess and light earth. I can't really taste any hops, but I suspect there is a lot more going on in there than a stupid…

Robinson's Old Tom Chocolate Strong Ale

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The is supposed to be the World's Best Ale. Don't ask me - ask Robinson's about their label. Here I have been trying to find the best beers in the world (available to me here locally) and these guys went ahead and put it in their bottle, slapped a label on it that told me what I was looking for, and then sent it to my local brewslinger.

The beer is dark brown with a dense, swirling mist of white specks that make me think of this glass as a snow globe. The head isn't very much at the best of times, and it boils away to a few patches floating on top and the familiar ring around the edge. The aroma is slightly bitter and actually reminds me of a bourbon barrel aged beer with the heavy oak and distinct alcohol - and those kinds of beers are not my favorite.

First sip is not the bourbon barrel beer that I'd feared, and it is also not the chocolate porter/stout/black ale that I'd hoped for. Instead, it is a bitter swill of heavy bread malt, some coffee, very slight v…

New Belgium Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale

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I will admit to buying this beer completely out of curiosity. I mean - who is your target demographic with this freaking beer? As the holidays are approaching, I suppose this might be the kind of thing you would drink in the middle of the day instead of eggnog or somesuch while dealing with some troublesome family member or the like.

I expected a dark beer. Normally these chocolate beers are stouts or porters, so I'm really surprised to find a bright golden yellow ale in front of me with a few scant bubbles floating on top. The aroma is more malt than anything, but I do smell maybe a sweet vanilla. Aside from that, it's nothing out of the ordinary, and I wonder what's going on.

First sip, and things become clear. The vanilla is very strong with this one, and it is very, very sweet. The trail off reminds me of those little fake chocolate balls that come in a sleeve at Christmas... what were they called..... SIXLETS! They don't overpower the beer, though, they are just k…

Founders Backwoods Bastard Bourbon Barrel Aged Scotch Ale

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My first few Founders beers were really good. Since then, I've hoped that they would recapture that magic, but the best they can do is slightly above average. I'm looking for a return to form, and I have chosen this beer with a scraggly old man on it to drag them kicking and screaming into the toolshed of happiness.

She's a dark brown and red beer with an impressive opacity. The head doesn't amount to much, and what's left after a while is like a tiny negligee on top of an oak trunk. Speaking of oak, guess what I don't smell! That's right, anything. I don't smell a damn thing in here. It could be that I am recovering from a cold, but I swear I just dipped my nose so close that it was almost touching, and I couldn't smell a thing. So, I'm going in nose-blind.

First sip is ... quite bad. I've had these Oak Barrel beers before, and some have gone not bad. The problem is, it seems, the fact that this is a Scotch Ale rather than a Scottish Style …

Sixpoint 5 Beans Porter

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Not sure I will ever understand the energy drink cans these guys use. I thought I had tried everything they offered, but I saw this on the shelf, and I decided to give it a good whirl. Fact is, I didn't look at it too hard, as it appears it may be a coffee-based beer. Beers that are based on coffee are an insult to my palate, and I hope they die a fiery death. Still, I have this one to try, and maybe it will redeem the others.

The black beer has a very slight red-brown haze around the outsides only when exposed to fairly bright light. The tan head is thin, but it has staying power. It caps the beer like a thin film of algae - unmoving and seemingly menacing. The aroma is very coffee. It's coffee grounds, vanilla, oak, smoke, and I'm sure a bunch of other stuff that is buried under the coffee. I fear, as a non-coffee drinker - I've made another mistake.

First sip is coffee grounds. If there's more in it, I can't taste it, but friends have told me that my sensiti…

Terrapin All American Oat Pale Ale

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Terrapin is the best turtle-themed beer brewer I've come across. Mind you, I can't recall another, so I suspect they are in a class of one here. They have had some good beers, and they have had stinkers, but most of their beers are hovering around my middle-of-the-road 2.5 mark. I want to see them break out and start hitting home runs.

The pale golden beer sports a frothy head that leaves enough lacing to let you know that you're dealing with a real beer here. The murky depths of the beer glow with light overhead like a beautiful Romulan or viking elixir that would tempt the hardest of hearts. The aroma is flowers, grains, citrus, and maybe even a hint of pine, if my smeller is working right. I guess I should see if my taster is.

First sip is very grapefruit-forward, and the whole beer is just pretty damn refreshing. I could see enjoying this on a warm summer afternoon on the deck while the puppies play in the back yard and the horses graze nearby (I'm living in a Sout…

Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA

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Dark horse was really a... dark horse, I guess... when I first tried one. since then, I expect quirky, bold, and good representations of beers I've had before. I like a brewer who tried to go outside the box once they have mastered the traditional beers, but it seems like Dark Horse has managed to skip the first part and go right to the second. I support this, if it goes well.

The very hazy light brown beer sports a white, clumpy head that indicates that it means business. The aroma is a fairly quiet and unassuming light floral and pine hops with little else there to back it up. It's surprising that the IPA is so mild in its presentation, but presentation is only part of the whole experience, and the taste is really what we're here for.

First sip is not at all mild. Instead, the floral and pine hops positively attack the mouth with the attitude that they may only get one shot at leaving an impression, and they're going to leave one that will take a couple of weeks to c…

Samuel Smith Organic Chocolate Stout

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My experience with Samuel Smith has not been stellar. The best of the beers was better than average, but I came away from most of them thinking that they represent the worst of British beers, and they are watery and just not the kind of beer I would turn to for fulfilling my beer needs. That said, I didn't get this because I expected it to suck.

The beer is a deep ruby red to the point of blackness. The light tan head leaves no lacing, but it sticks around like a particularly drunk guy at a party who is just too busy talking about his blog and how important it is to the world even though no one reads it, Cameron! The aroma is smoke and chocolate with a little coffee mixed in there for good measure. I have high expectations based on the aroma - this may be the best of the British beers. Maybe.

First sip is a small chunk of Halloween candy, but it's one of those *special* candies that are only available to adults because they decided to add alcohol to the chocolate. There is als…