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Showing posts from May, 2019

Boulvard Chocolate Ale

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This is the wrong glass. The problem with picking the right glass for your beer is that some guides will tell you to pick a particular glass for particular style of beer, and others will tell you to pick a particular glass for the color of the beer. Since this style is technically a generic ale, I was forced to go with the color. The problem with going by the color is that you have to already know what the color of the beer is. I picked the stout glass because the said it was chocolate and a figure to be darker than it is. My bad.

No, it's not really all that dark. It is hazy as all get out, and the deep copper color is certainly inviting, so the mistake is mine with the whole glass thing. There isn't much head to start with, and it goes away almost entirely; there's nothing more than a ring around the edge of the glass to let you know that this is carbonated at all. The aroma has more coffee in it then it seems to have chocolate, but I definitely smell some vanilla in the…

Van Steenberge Gulden Draak 9000 Quadruple Ale

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This is not my first of the Gulden Draak family, but this is (to my own surprise) the first Quadruple Ale that I've reviewed here. This is also slotted in-between the 10.6% and 10.8% ABV beers - and it's another first. Honestly, I'm just as surprised as you. Moreso, in fact, as you probably don't care, and that's fine; don't invest yourself in some strange blog on the internet. Also, I am drinking this from the goblet that came with this beer. I wouldn't normally go for such an ostentatious design, but this is what the brewery intended.

The beer is a somewhat murky copper. It's not gold (or guld) and I didn't really expect it to be. After all, it's also not a dragon (or draak). It has an immense and impressive head that takes quite a while to dampen down. What is left is still a half inch of gloriously thick bubbles forming an uneven cap and leaving a smattering of lacing on the sides of the glass.The aroma is dark Belgian yeasts with earth and …

Braxton "Twisted Bit Dortmunder" Lager

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I think I painted myself into a corner. I started off by talking about how the Revamp IPA was a great name in its simplicity and the way other brewers should follow suit and name their beers with similar restraint. Then, they added the word golden in their cream ale, and I was okay with it. Now, they couldn't just leave it Twisted, they had to add Bit, and I think Dortmunder refers to someone from somewhere in Germany. I don't know how it pertains, but I'm not a brewer, and maybe this means something to them.

The very clear amber beer has a pretty decent head on it, and it fizzles away to just about the same as the last one did - a covering on top that's stronger around the sides. It smells exactly like you expect a lager to smell. This has strong bread malt with that tint of yeast and a little bit of hops just kind of peeking through. So, presentation is exactly like a textbook definition of a lager.

First sip is very pleasant. It's not overwhelming with flavor, b…

Braxton "Storm" Golden Cream Ale

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Okay, they added an extra word in here that they probably didn't need, but I still think that Braxton's naming is on point. They're short, simple, and easy to understand. I wish I could say the same about the tiny little lettering that they used on the front to say what the ABV was. There's so much bleed from the yellow ink that I really can't make it out that well. Thank goodness it touts the paltry 4.8% ABV on the back in much easier to read lettering.

True to its extra word in the name, this sucker is golden. It sprouts a pretty robust head that takes a while to go down. Once it does, it leaves little more than a dusting across the top of the beer and a tight ring around the outside. The aroma is wheaty, but sweet. So, presentation is pretty good, and I'm getting pretty thirsty.

First sip is very light with the wheat out front and the vanilla and spices backing it up pretty well. The bready malt is doing a good job of laying a base, but it's a fairly bla…

Braxton "Revamp" IPA

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I surely can't be the first person to point out to Braxton that the logo that they've chosen is vaguely reminiscent of a Nazi logo, can I? It's not a good look to try and emulate Nazis, and this is especially true with their recent resurgence. I realize this is brewed in Kentucky, but I'm pretty sure the Nazis are generally frowned upon there, too. Still, this is a great name for a beer. This isn't one of those names that just goes on and on like some beers. It's the name of the brewery, a name for the beer, and the name of the style. More brewers should do this kind of branding (aside from the Nazi stuff).

This is a picturesque beer. Some beers just resonate a perfect look, and this is certainly one of them. The amber-gold color is striking yet inviting, and the head is thick, fluffy, and sticky as all get out. It leaves a spattering of lacing down the sides of the class as it descends, and this just makes the look even better. Initially, I thought I smelled a…

Founders "Trigo Hoppy Wheat" Lager

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Ever since I got this set of beer glasses from my wife, I have struggled to really figure out why one class is supposed to be better than another for a particular style of beer. This glass is for wheat beers, but it says on the box that it's for wheat ales specifically. I'm just gonna go ahead and throw this be lager in here, and maybe we shouldn't really trying to select whether or not it's the right glass for this beer that came in a can.

The very pale yellow beer starts to turn a little orange toward the top where the liquid has area to spread out (I think I found the reason for the special glass). There isn't much of a head to begin with, and it tries to hang on the sides of the glass, but it's really not going to win this battle. The aroma is grassy and wheaty, and it has a bit of lemon and possibly honey coming through as well.

First sip is certainly not bad. It's very watery, but it has enough greens and grass and even that lemon to at least give the…

Fat Orange Cat "Living In Our Own Private Idaho" New England IPA

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Holy crap, that's an exceedingly long name. Even after I just tried using initials for the New England India Pale Ale, that name is just too dang long. Could you imagine trying to order this in a crowded bar? There's a reason Budweiser is reduced to Bud, and it's not just because it doesn't deserve all three syllables.

The mostly opaque orange beverage has such an even color from the top of the glass to the bottom that I am not sure I would believe that this wasn't edited in Photoshop or GIMP or the like if I wasn't looking at it right here in front of me. There's minimal head, and it leaves a dusting on the very top of the beer, but it leaves little else. The aroma is very faint, but it has bread dough and yeast. I expected hops. Where are the earth-shattering hops?

First sip is sweet orange, grains, pine, and dough. It's a good sip, but it's complicated as heck. I can't say I would recommend drinking this beer by sips, as there is just so much…

Fat Orange Cat "Blood Orange Billy" New England IPA

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Hey, what kind of beer is that?
Blood Orange Billy.
No, I mean what kind of beer?
It's Fat Orange Cat?
No, what's the style?
*reads small print*
*reads other, smaller print*
It's a new England India Pale Ale with blood orange.
Is that a thing?
Well, it appears these guys think it is.
Is that one of those 12% beers? 
Well, it's part of the 12% project, but some of their other beers are part of that project, and none of them are 12%. This is probably not coincidentally 6.66% ABV. I don't think their Satanists, though.
Oh. It's one of THOSE.

Pale straw yellow beer is very hazy. It has almost no head right out of the can, and that allows me to fill my pint glass all the way to the top. What little head exists is pretty much just white, and there isn't going to be any lacing on this beer. The aroma is sweet with oranges, but there's a bit of a bite like harsh grain or an errant spice.

First sip is pretty good. It's got the sweet orange right up front with kin…

BrewDog Albino Squid Assassin Red Rye IPA

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I'm not generally a fan of rye beers, but this is BrewDog, and they put out Hazy Jane, so they have a wide margin for failure. Looking at the label, you might not even realize that this is a BrewDog beer immediately, as it has a stylized evil squid dominating the can to the point that I had to scour the can to find out what the style was.

The beer is only a little red. In fact, I'd probably call it a lightly amber-hued dirty brown with a realistic head that won't be leaving lacing, but it's doing a fine job of sticking around. The color of the beer is really kind of striking - like a dirty puddle outside a Glasgow pub that someone bled into after a hard-won bar fight that had the loser buying a round for the bar. The aroma is crisp apple, grapefruit, orange, and flowers.

First sip is not bad. It is mostly malt with the citrus around the outskirts, but the rye is like a thin red line that goes through the whole thing; it's not the most flavor beer, but it's not …

Victory Storm King Imperial Stout

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I swear I've had this before. I can say that, as I know for certain that I definitely have. The problem is that it was so long ago that it was before I started to document the beers that I've tried. So, I'm backed into this corner of having to drink it as if it is completely new to me. Good news - I can handle this.

The black beer has an odd mix of brown and red at the extreme corners, and it is very reluctant to release any head. It's reluctant in the same way the bourbon barrel beers tend to be, but this is definitely not from a barrel. The aroma is rich and thick with coffee, chocolate, and caramel in the malt areas and a pine hop with dark fruit floating on top.

First sip is the thick, roasted malt with it's coffee and bitterness mesmerizing the tastebuds while earth and dark fruit make a subtle background for it to dance across. It's a bit much for a sip, but that's going to be the case with pretty much any imperial stout, isn't it?

Tip-in is syrup…

Sun King IPA

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The ABV on this is 6.5%. The only reason I know this is that SKB (Sun King Brewery) has it on their website, but they don't bother to put it on the beer. Some small breweries do this because the ABV in the beer fluctuates pretty significantly from one batch to the next (a small brewery I went to once had a batch that they had accidentally allowed to get dangerously close to their local legal limit of alcohol, and they consequently restricted the number you could have while you were there. I had two. They were delicious).

The clear, brass-colored beer has a minimal head, but it's sticky, and it likes to leave lacing, so I'm going to go ahead and call it just about perfect. The aroma is very juicy citrus and a bit of mustiness from the doughy malt. It's got a sweet feel to it, and I'm in the mood for a good, sweet citrus beer.

First sip is not sweet. It is not sweet at all. It's bitter and tart, and the slight mustiness is a blanket of dust that covers all and do…

Gate City "Awe Juice" IPA

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It says to drink straight from the can, but that would rob me of the picture I usually take. Screw them and their imperialist instructions - I do things the way I do them, and they don't get to own me. That said, I totally roll the can as instructed, as I am a good boy who behaves and does what he's told underneath all this rebellion.

As soon as I open the can, the juicy nature of the beer smacks me in the nose. The tangerine, grapefruit, orange, and lemon are all bringing their fruitiness to bare on me, and I'm here for it. The murky copper-gold beer's sticky white head is just the container for the juice, and I want some in my belly.

First sip is more bitter, pine, mustiness, and dank than I expected from the very juicy nose. In fact, I'm not sure I tasted any of the fruits at all past that bitter side effect of the hops. Where's the malt? Why isn't the malt doing something to tamp down these problems? Seems like this beer needs balanced quite a bit - the…

Bearded Iris Voyager Double IPA

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The Bearded Iris guys are all about their mixes. I don't know how many IPAs and DIPAs I've had from them, but it has been quite a few. They aren't consistently great, and I'm not even sure I can say that they are progressively getting better, but I think their idea is that they will just pump out variety until they can't pump out more or they find the perfect beer. I hope it's the latter.

This is a bit more gold in color than the usual Bearded Iris fare, so it looks a lot less like fruit juice. It's still hazy to the point that minimal light can get through from one side to the other. The head isn't much, and it simmers down to a thin covering for modesty's sake. The aroma is a mix of citrus and tropical fruits, so the usual Bearded Iris touch may bring joy to my face after all.

First sip is all the citrus and tropical fruit that you would expect from a Bearded Iris brew, and it's got a little bitter twinge to it that I'm not particularly us…

Man Crate Moscow Mule

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Anyone who's read my blog knows that I don't normally dabble in hard liquor - let alone mixed drinks. This particular crates was a gift from a friend, and I'm certainly grateful for the chance to try this out. However, I'm just letting you know right up front that I don't really know what I'm talking about, so I can only relay my experience with this particular Man Crate.

For starters, the beverage is clear and fizzy. This makes sense, as the main ingredient is nonalcoholic ginger beer. Now, the ginger beer was the only ingredient that was included in the Man Crate. Reading their description of the Moscow Mule, it would appear that it only has one other ingredient: vodka. This is self-evidently incorrect, as the can of ginger beer has the Moscow Mule recipe on it, and it includes a lime. So, after gathering up the other ingredients, I'm finally able to use the Crate.

I would really have appreciated detailed instructions with this Crate. I don't know why…

Bearded Iris Forecast Mexican Style Lager

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Let's get this clear right off the bat: I don't normally add any citrus or whatever else may traditionally or anecdotally be added to a particular kind of beer. When I did my review of Shock Top, Blue Moon, and a few others, I did not add an orange or lemon or whatever the particular tradition was for that beer. That was because it wasn't actually written on the can or bottle. This one explicitly states that you should add a lime, so that's what I'm doing. I'm still against the idea of adding an external citrus to a beer that should be controlled by the hops, but I will follow instructions.

The beer is already a vaguely green-tinted yellow with a whole heaping of bits floating around all up and down the beer; these bits are not bothering to settle on the bottom. The head is pretty aggressive, but it's certainly manageable in its white yet foamy state. First sip is unsurprisingly lime with other citrus flavors tossed into the mix. While I don't condone a…

St. Arnulf Alery Hexagram Milk Stout

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There was only one reason I bought this bottle of beer, and I don't even know how much I spent on it. I bought it for this weird paper wrapped around the bottle packaging. I'm not normally one to go nuts over a particular kind of packaging, but this really stood out in the beer store. It's odd that this strange and seemingly foreign beverage comes from Kentucky, but I think that just goes to show that good ideas can come from anywhere.

I can normally hedge the color of these black beers by saying they have a little bit of ruby or brown around the edges just where the light is coming through, but that's not this beer. The sucker absorbs all light. The tan ahead absolutely does not want to come out and play, and what you see in this picture is the closest I could come to coaxing some out, and there isn't much to it. The aroma is downright boozy with heavy alcohol, sweet malt, chocolate, and roasted wood. In the background, there be berries.

First sip is much heavier …

Knee Deep "Breaking Bud" IPA

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This is my second Knee Deep beer, and it shares the strange anthropomorphic hop on the front of the can that its sister did. I guess it's just kind of their thing? In any event, this is an IPA from a brewer who clearly knows their way around beer, and I am welcoming to any kind of strange label that might surround a good beer. Aside from Nazis. I don't want Nazis.

The hazy, dull gold beer has a proper, thick IPA head on it that leaves lacing more than I had dreamed of (and I dream about lacing a lot more than you might expect). The aroma is predictably citrus and it has a good, wet dough malt backing it up with a hint of pine on the horizon. The whole presentation is making a thirsty man even thirstier.

First sip is much, much smoother than I anticipated. The citrus hops are playing very well with the doughy bread and it is backing it up like a champ. The resin is more than I could smell, but it's all very... harmonious in its presentation.

Tip-in is a bit tart, and the re…

Bearded Iris Finesse Pils

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What the? Is this a Pilsner from Bearded Iris? That doesn't make any sense. When you're Bearded Iris, you make IPAs and double IPAs – you do not make Pilsner's, right? Well, this can would lead me to believe that I have been mistaken this whole time. So, I'm going to try this Pilsner from a beloved local brewery.

The pale yellow beer sports a seriously frothy white head to the point that it starts to drizzle down the side of the glass. The aroma of wheatgrass, heavy sour yeast, and flowers dominates the smell. I'm not used to pilsners from Bearded Iris, so I didn't have an idea about what to expect, but this is straight out of the pilsner playbook.

First sip is grass, spice, wheat, honey, and a dour yeast. The floral and spice nature of the beer tries to make it light, but the yeast seems like it's dragging it down a bit. Of course, that's what happens when you sip, and sipping is for tea and sacramental wine - here, we drink.

Tip-in is lemon, carbonati…

Mississippi "Mississippi Mud" Black & Tan

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I did a quick search, and much to my surprise I have not done a review of a black and tan before. I have had many black and tans in my day, most of those poured at a bar using the proper technique with Guinness and Bass. This beer uses a porter and a pilsner to achieve what it calls a black and tan, and I guess these things are just up to interpretation. After all, I've had lots of different beers mixed and called black and tan (including some lagers).

The beer is surprisingly dark red (I expected something closer to black) with an off-white (but not all the way to tan) head. The aroma (I think I may be using too many parentheticals in this review already) is roasted malts and toasted grains; it's sweet and tangy, and I'm feeling its good vibes.

First sip is a slather of carbonation sizzle followed by watery toasted caramel soup. It's way too watery for a mixture of two flavorful beers. There is a bit of chocolate and coffee to try and mitigate the mild nature of this …

Knee Deep "Stoutello" Chocolate Stout

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Hailing from California, this beer is a milk stout with chocolate and hazelnut added to it. It's possible Nutella was their template for this beer, and I'm a go ahead and go out on a limb and say that it almost definitely was. I don't know what the deal is with the freaky looking green hop–based, bow-wearing creature is on the front, but I think I complain enough about can art.

Color is a deep, deep brown to the point of being black. The head is a medium tan – kind of a khaki. The aroma is predictably chocolate and hazelnut. There are deeper aromas going on underneath those two, but they are definitely running with it. I think I can smell the malt, and it is lightly toasted. This really smells like a good dessert beer.

First sip is pretty good, but it's a little watery. It's got that overly mild sensation of there being carbonated water with some flavors added to it, but it's very watered down. That said, the flavors that have been added are definitely worth ad…

Ommegang "Game of Thrones - For The Throne" Golden Ale

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This is my seventh beer from the series. I'm not sure if there are other beers labeled to coincide with the release of Game of Thrones, but I have tried all the ones I came in contact with. At this point, there are more beers that I have tried than there will be episodes in this last season. The battle of Winterfell has occurred, and we're just waiting for the last few episodes in the series. So, I drink this beer with a heavy heart. Nevertheless, I drink it.

True to it's name, the beer is a very rich shade of gold. The abundant, "Stark" white head is a mix of dense bubbles and big, fluffy bubbles that sits atop the beverage like a crown, and it takes a little bit to go down; when it does, it leaves a dense layer to protect the top of the beer. Emanating from the depths is a thick, moist yeast and grape juice mixed with grains.

First sip is surprisingly good. The yeast is mixing with the grapes to make a very unique beer-wine combination that has the fullness of …

Sweetwater 420 Strain G13 IPA

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I'm expecting dank, how about you? I didn't realize when I picked this up that I should have noticed the big 420 written on the bottle rather than the smaller G13 IPA I based my purchasing decision on. I've had some good dank beers, but I don't know that I would go out of my way to pick another one up. But, Sweetwater is a brewery that knows how to produce some good beers, so I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Strangely, the first thing that jumped out at me when I started to pour was the aroma. This beer smells skunked. I checked the bottle as closely as I could to try and find a date, and I eventually found an incredibly hard to read number written at the bottom of the label on the back. It says this beer is good for at least another month and a half, so I don't know where the skunk smell came from. Aside from the aroma, this is a very hazy, straw-colored beer with a relatively modest head that does not leave any substantial lacing as it goes …

Stone "22 Anni-Matter" Double IPA

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I must have misread the label to think it said "anti-matter" like a dozen times. This is a 22nd anniversary beer, and it seems odd to me for a brewery to celebrate their 22nd anniversary, but it seems like the kind of thing Stone (brewers of Arrogant Bastard) might do. But, I'm happy they are celebrating with a DIPA, that's for sure.

The copper beer has a resilient head that may not be the thickest, but it has staying power. The aroma is delightful citrus and sweet bread malt; a honey highlights it all very well. I'm not saying this is the best DIPA ever, but that's only because I haven't started drinking it yet.

First sip is tropical fruits and bitterness. I'm really surprised as how bitter and musty the taste is for a DIPA from Stone. I'm pretty sure I could not sip this beer for very long before giving up entirely, but sipping isn't what this blog is known for (and it's not really known at all).

Tip-in is tart tropical fruits with mild …