Showing posts from December, 2018

Yellow Bridge Horatio IPA

This beer was picked up direct from the brewery two days ago in Delmont, PA. It features a crab on the front, seemingly commanding some waves. Now, I'll admit it has been quite some time since I read Horatio Hornblower, but I don't think he commanded the seas, and he almost definitely wasn't a crab. Maybe they should have named this Sebastian.

The murky orange-gold beer doesn't sport a whole lot of the white head, and it boils right down to a very thin and patchy covering with a lot more around the edges of the glass. The aroma is delightfully hoppy with citrus and tropical fruits; I think I may smell a cracker malt, but it's buried.

First sip is not nearly as smooth as I expected. It's prickly all around the edges, but it smooths as the beer goes down. The prickliness comes from pine and maybe a bit of flowers, and I don't know why I didn't smell it. The fruit meat is what smooths it out at the end, and this is a really complex - yet very simple - beer…

Revolution Anti-Hero IPA

I don't know who this Chicago brewery is trying to revolt against, but the picture on the can has a raised fist reminiscent of any number of socialist revolutions. And then there is a hop with a general's military uniform (and an eye patch). So, I'm guessing more than one Che Guevara t-shirt is on display in the brewery.

The honey colored beer has a very healthy head that leaves a spattering of lacing on the sides of the glass that I can only describe as very pretty. The aroma is musty pine and citrus hops with a sweet bread malt lingering under it, waiting for the unwitting capitalist dog.

First sip is hops of the citrus and pine variety with that malt doing a good enough job of smoothing out the bitterness, but there's no way of getting away from the bitter hops as the main ingredient. There is a tartness to go with the bitterness, and the musty overtones are really odd and counter the malt quite a bit.

Tip-in is wheat bread malt with the citrus and pine jumping up a…

Ole Smoky Blue Flame Moonshine

From what I understand from the shelf tags and stuff that I saw for this moonshine, Ole Smoky basically just said, "We're through screwing around - we're ramping up the alcohol to what moonshine should be. I hope you enjoyed the flavored drinks with a little alcohol added, but moonshine was designed for getting people messed up. You need to get used to something more aggro."

First things first - the beverage is blue in the jar, but it's such a light blue that the glass reads as pretty much clear. What does this mean? This means that - unlike the other Ole Smoky shines I've tried - this one is presented in a tinted jar. The fluid is clear, but they didn't want people to mistake it for White Lightning, so they shaded it. I'm not particularly happy about this - I feel like I've been duped. For the love of all that's holy, just add some damn food coloring. The aroma is the usual kind of lighter fluid smell, but it's sweeter and... maybe corn?

New Heights "Damguday IV" New England Style IPA

From Nashville, TN comes this "Specialty Batch No. 1" beer. I point this out as this is - my Roman numerals are a little rusty - the FOURTH of the Damguday beers. So, were the other three not a specialty batch? Why is this specialty? What's with all the numbers? Is this some sign from the Illuminati? Let's see what the powerful underlords drink:

The hazy, honey colored beer has a very sticky head that would make me think of a Belgian ale or a bog-standard IPA. But this is a New England IPA, and I have not seen this much lacing from one of these before; I hope it's a trend. The aroma is not unpleasant with its colorful citrus, but it has something more acidic than that in there with it, and it's almost acetone.

First sip dispels fears. It's a very rich and sweet citrus blend with a crusty malt backing it up with an almost oatmeal-like quality. There is bitterness on the back-end, but the sweetness of the fruit is counter to anything I expected. It's no…

Platform Speed Merchant White IPA

One of my brothers got me the cute bottles with the antlers on them, and I couldn't have thanked him enough. I didn't like them all evenly, but I like trying new beers, so any beer is welcome (except for you, Magic Hat - you know what you did). This comes from my OTHER thoughtful brother in Ohio who gave me beers that were all local to him; and no, I can't thank him enough.

The golden beer with a brassy tone absolutely does NOT want to release any head. When it is forced out, it is a white dusting of tiny bubbles with the occasional adult bubble thrown in. The aroma is just what it says on the can: citrus fruits, tropical fruits, and pine. It adds a bit of bready malt to the mix, but the hops are out in front having a parade to enjoy just being hops.

First sip is a lot smoother than I expected, but it has a bitter trail that makes you wonder if all the hops were worth it. I joke, because they totally are. The mangoes and pineapple are joined by oranges and papaya to dance …

Unveiled Vanilla Dark Ale

What might I have done in a previous life to deserve brothers who would send me beer like this? I'm not worthy of their unspoken affection, and it doesn't need to be spoken so long as the beer talks for them. This is my second beer from unveiled, and I certainly have high hopes for it.

This dark brown beer is so dark in the middle that light will not pass through, but it's definitely brown, as I can see through the corners and the bottom of the glass. There wasn't much head to start with, and it scatters to the winds leaving only a ring around the sides of the glass that sticks a little, but I'm not expecting any lacing from this. The aroma is delicious. It's sweet and syrupy with chocolate and vanilla garnished with nuts and maybe a sprig of coffee. Maybe coffee is just some malt having been roasted; it's hard to tell.

First sip is excellent. This is a really smooth beverage that is a lot more mild than I expected. The vanilla and chocolate malt are playin…

Unveiled Double IPA

Yet another beer that I got as a present. I thank the stars that I have such generous siblings. This beer says it was brewed and canned in Abita Springs. I'm genuinely surprised that something other than Abita has come out of Abita Springs. Well, this is a double IPA, so this has a darn good shot at winning my heart.

That is a beer colored beer. It's a gold with a little bit of an amber hue added. I think if I was gonna be a little more professional with these reviews, I probably have to get out a chart full of paint chips and try and match exact colors, but beer is kind of a messy subject, so I think a little slop is okay. The head isn't much, but it sticks pretty well. There isn't going to be any lasting lacing, but the heads impressive enough. It smells of sourdough, flowers, and some citrus. This is a good start.

First sip is downright excellent. It has that raw sourdough bread malt that is a nice base for the citrus and flowers to lean into. The fruit is bright an…

Rivertown Kontrola Pilsner

My first Rivertown beer was in the very early stages of this blog, so I would take the 2.5/5 rating with a grain of... barley? This one is from my brother, and I will enjoy it more, I'm sure. After all, this was hand-selected to fit my discerning tastes (okay, my try-and-try-again tastes) by someone who cared. I expect great things.

The very golden beer doesn't sport much of a head, and it consequently doesn't leave any lacing. The aroma is beer. I mean, this is what I traditionally think of as a beer smell. If you took the low-end American macro-brew lagers and mixed them with all the mid-range Canadian beers, you would wind up with almost this exact smell. It's light grain in a heavy, yeast-tinged malt with a whiff of hops. It's not bad that it smells like this, but I'm trying to give you, dear reader, the idea.

First sip is much more than I expected. The yeast is right out front with the grains and sweet, honey malt in tow. It's a deep beer that is fille…

BrewDog Lost Lager Dry-Hopped Pilsner

Dry-hopped? Usually an IPA or a pale ale. Lager? Yes, that's a thing. Hell, the American-style lagers are pretty much the best selling beers in the world. Pilsner? Technically a type of lager, but it's distinct like a stout is distinct from an ale. So, I don't know where these guys are going, but I remember the truly fantastic Hazy Jane, and I'm along for the ride here. With an approachable ABV of 4.7%, I think I could ride this all night.

The beer looks like a classic pilsner. It's a pale gold that is a bit too rich in gold color to be confused with a Bud, but it might be confused with a Coors or something like that in a darker room. The head isn't really trying; it's not much to start with and leaves only a slight patch on top with no lacing. The aroma is lemons and grains without the slightest hint of the dry hopping I was promised on the can.

First sip is grainy with lemon zest, grasses, and some honey. I think there is citrus around the outsides, but t…

Moerlein Christkindl Winter Warmer Ale

One brother glues antlers to bottle and makes some genuinely entertaining bottles filled with entertaining beer. The other brother gives me cans filled with entertaining beer. Honestly, I appreciate them both equally. After all, I clearly like trying new beers, and these guys are contributing to the cause.

The deep ruby colored beer has very little head, and what it has goes away entirely. A few faint bubbles around the rim are all that remain, but that lets the aroma of spices above dark fruits and earth come through a bit better; chocolate and sweet malt are laying the groundwork for this effort.

First sip is solid; coffee, chocolate, spices, and a definite earth are all heavy-feeling tastes loading the beverage down. It's nice, but it's not smooth, dry, or otherwise easy to define. It's so stiff that the spices on top of it seem almost to belong to a different beverage. The earth and coffee and chocolate are really solid and deep while the spices are really light and ai…

Sweetwater Festive Ale

Sweetwater has been kind of all over the place. They haven't had any real stinkers, but their best standout... actually, it was really good. What the hell am I thinking? My brother wouldn't steer me wrong (much like he wouldn't disappoint me by giving me bottles that didn't have antlers at X-mas).

So brown that it has turned black, the beer has a head with an off-white hue made from many tiny bubbles and a few big ones. It attempts to make some lacing on the sides of the glass, but it's failing pretty miserably. The aroma is smoky chocolate with a mocha bend. The spices are light and barely perceptible.

First sip is a lot heavier with the coffee than the aroma let me know. The chocolate is dark and bitter, and it intermingles with the coffee and smoked oats. I don't know where the spices are, but I might have been taken off-guard by the coffee. I'm not a coffee fan; this isn't enough to ruin the beer, but it's not welcome.

Tip-in is sweet and vanill…

Boulevard Snow & Tell Scotch Ale

Yup, it's another beer from my brother with antlers inexplicably glued on it. Look, it may not look great for the picture, but I like that my brother went through the effort to glue the little googly eyes on the beer with that stupid, beautiful shiny nose. So, a Boulevard has this decoration, and they were on my "naughty" list, when I had my first, but they have bounced back, so this might be very good.

The very dark amber beer is liberal with its head, but it's not too much to handle. The tight bubbles nestle nicely on the top of the beer like a sweet little mattress. Speaking of sweet - the brown sugar, molasses, and syrup sweetness is carried right over to me from a foot away, and I'm also digging the oaky addition at the outskirts of the smell.

First sip is smooth, but the end has an oak dryness to it that doesn't let go in a hurry. I can definitely taste the brown sugar and molasses, and there is some vanilla added for brightness. Still, that oak finish …

Great Lakes Christmas Ale

The only other beer I've had from Great Lakes was their amber, and I liked it very much. I'm going through the Christmas beers that my brother stuck reindeer antlers and faces on before giving to me; This one is from his current home state of Ohio. So, let's see if he picked me out a good one.

This surprisingly clear copper beer didn't have much head from the get-go, but what little head I coaxed out is fluffy enough, and it never really goes completely away. The aroma is sweet with spices and honey (just like it says on the label) with very little thought given to the hops. The spices are prickly, but I'm not getting a bite of floral or citrus hops that I might come to expect. I don't even think I smell pine.

First sip makes me forget all of the worries I had about there not being hops in here. No, hops are not forward, but they do seem to be backing up a very nice warmly spiced malt with that sweet honey bringing up the rear beside the hops. The hops are defi…

Brooklyn Winter Lager

Brooklyn has given me some good performances in the past, and - as you can see - my brother hooked me up with the festively-decorated bottle. So, this one is another one that is classified as a winter beer, but this is a lager. How will it do against the ale I had last time?

The dark brown beer has a good amount of head that fizzles down to a quarter inch or so of foam that makes the whole festive countenance of the beer seem more like a party. The aroma is roasted grains, bitter dark chocolate, and alcohol just nestled into the warm rug of malt.

First sip is the roasted grains joining coffee grounds and vanilla. The sip isn't particularly bad, even for someone like me who doesn't like coffee. It seems like it has a lot of carbonation, and that's making me burp a bit just from the sip. Odd.

Tip-in is mild carbonation tingle with the roasted grains and a caramel malt mixed with some earth under it. The middle widens to include more grains, some dark fruit, and that's ab…

Abita Christmas Ale

It's that time year again. My brother furnished me with a few of these reindeer–inspired beers. I think this year they are all some kind of Christmas ale or winter warmer, but I wound up labeling this here as a brown ale, as that's what their website says. They cover their bets and also call it a dark ale, so they're getting two labels. This particular beer sparked my interest, as Abita has not really inspired me in the past, but this is just the kind of niche that might be their breakout hit.

Well, they call this a brown ale, but it has more of a mahogany look to it. The head is thick with this one, and it sticks around for a while. Even after it is left to settle, the foam is like a sponge sitting on top; I'm kinda digging it. It's got a sweet, bready malt aroma with maybe some brown sugar and a hint of the mahogany that is coloring it. I can tell you it certainly smells intriguing.

First sip is a little rough. These Christmas ales tend to have a rather stoic per…

Southern Grist Loud Whisper Pale Ale

Is it wrong that I now think of any beer below 6.5% ABV as kind of quaint and pedestrian? Well, no small brewery in Nashville should be considered pedestrian. I've run into so many that are really outstanding that above average is the new norm. Does that mean the average raises? I'm not here to do math, so no.

The pale yellow beer is misty and has a nice, thick white head that leaves more lacing than you might expect, but it's not like IPA-level lacing. The aroma is dank citrus and wheat. I expected a bit of pine, but I really can't smell much past the citrus and faint grains. Maybe wheat was the wrong word, and I should stick with grains - it's definitely a grainy smell, but when you get right down to it, is there a big difference between wheat smell and barley smell?

First sip is lemon zest with oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit backing it up. The grains assert as wheat (kind of disappointing after my whole "wheat v barley" tangent). It's a simple…