Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer Revisited

I have abandoned my beer drinking and reading audience!  Not to fret!  I will be returning very shortly.  Perhaps tonight if I feel up to it.  Before I do so, I feel like I need to explain...

Summer happened.  The season brought on LOTS of work at my employer with many an hour of overtime and just when it looked like things would slow up a huge fire breaks out at their main distribution center and our production has to ramp up to 7 days a week and then some!  It's not an excuse though!

Truthfully, I have had a bunch of different beers at my local pub The Grey Lodge and logged them in on Untappd where I have 48 badges now!  But at home I have only really had my homebrew here and there.

Other than an intense hot dog season there were little highlights to my summer.  I have been quasi helping my father work on the sailboat that we obtained last Xmas.  It is slow going.  Mostly I have been sleeping late on Saturday and putzing around out in the shop with him.

I threw a successful homebrew party where I showcased 4 of my brews in early summer.  The party was a success and It seemed that everyone liked at least one of my beers.  The most popular being Eddie's Small Bier which was a second running of the grain that I used for my Chocolate Stout.  I managed to squeeze a bit more sugar from that grain and made a tasty light ale with an ABV of about 3%.  I'm currently drinking in my apartment another second runnings beer that I reused from a Wee Heavy that I brewed for that party.  This one is about the same ABV and pretty flavorful.  The Scotch Ale grains are pretty appealing to my palate.  

I managed to see Furthur this summer with my brother, his friends, and my buddy Pat and his friends.  That was a really cool experience!  I had never seen Bob Weir or Phil Lesh play and was really happy to finally do so!

There was one HUGE event this summer.  One that I plan for all year and one that I brought everything, including the kitchen sink, to except my sleeping bag with the first night of this event dropping into the 50's.  The Philadelphia Folk Fest is what I speak about!  If you haven't been, then you haven't been.  It is very difficult to sum up.  I posted on FB when I got there that it was like I instantly had 3000 friends.  To sum up this years experience... Carolina Chocolate Drops were an incredible band amoungst a ton of incredible music both on stage and after the shows in the campground to whom I listened to until 6AM each night.  Todd Rundgren was kind of a d!ckhe@d on stage.  I don't know if he meant to come off sounding as such, but he did.

So alas, I lead up to the future of this Year of Craft Beer.  Tomorrow I will start off with a variety of pumpkin beer!  I know, it's too early, but they are in the stores now and they usually sell out by time I want them.  I snuck a few in before I blog about them and am glad that I had bought them!  All that I have to say is that Weyerbacher RULES!

In fact,  I may partake one now as I eat my dinner.  Have a great night and remember NOT to drink crappy beer!  Life is too short!


Monday, July 22, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 142, Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer Ale

Hi everyone!

Yeah, it's been a while, but summer happened.  The highlight so far was seeing Furthur at the Mann Music Center!  But anyway it's been a tough time getting to the blog.  Of course, Untappd is loaded with new beers for me!  I have close to 50 badges now!

Tonight's beer is called a Farmhouse Ale (from France) but is actually classified as an American Blond Ale which is basically lager like, or Kolsch like, or even, like in this case, Farmhouse like.  It can be lightly malty with subdued fruitiness and medium hopped and should be very drinkable just as this one is.
One pic was too dark, one too light, I could not get the true colour of this beer.

The beer poured a clear and light gold in colour with a typical lager like thin white head and faint lacing.

The aromas are of sweet pale malt, biscuity and mildly fruity (pear and some lemon) yeast, some light notes of honey and maybe some grassy hops albeit very light just as the lemon is.

It's a pretty well balance between earthy hoppiness and pale malt sweetness aided by lemon and honey.  It's delicious and very well done.  The finish borders on dry with a mild lingering hop bitterness with faint notes of pepper.  This is a good beer!

The mouthfeel is smooth and the body light, but not watery like I have read.  The carbonation is medium or just over, but not hot in the least.

Overall, I feel this beer meets all the criteria of an American Blond Ale and many of a Farmhouse Ale as well as they seem similar and in that respect I am going to give it high marks.  To add to that, the extreme pleasantness of this beer is also going to get it a great score and I don't see why it has gotten lower scores on Beer Advocate but I am going to give it a solid 4 out of 5.

Hey, if you like that lager that you have been drinking your whole life, this is a perfect beer for you to change it up and live a little!  Life is too short to drink crappy beer!


Monday, July 8, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 142, Flying Fish Extra Pale Ale

Yo!  Tonight I'm drinking yet another American Pale Ale.  Does everyone have one of these in their line-up?  This is a style taken from the India Pale Ale style of Britain and made, more or less, with American ingredients and hops.  Sometimes taken to the extreme, but this one is "Extra Pale" so it should be a bit lighter.  Let's check it out!
This beer pours crystal clear and straw to gold colour with a thin but lasting head in the form of just a ring and very little lacing.

Upon agitation biscuity yeast aromas come out along with some light malt sweetness and some floral hop notes.

The beer tastes very lightly malt sweet mixed evenly with hop bitter throughout the sip which then takes over mildly at the finish along with some peppery notes.

The mouthfeel is smooth, fairly thin, but not watery, and on the dry side with a fair bit of carbonation over moderate.

Overall, I think this is an excellent beer for summer events (cans would be great if offered).  As an American Pale Ale I believe it is too thin, but this is supposed to be extra pale and taylored made as such and when judging that needs to be considered.  Would I buy this again?  Yes!  As an extra pale ale I think this deserves a 4 out of 5!

You guys should try this beer!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 141, Flying Fish Hopfish IPA

Hey Beerophiles,

I have been away!  It's been a busy week and I have about 20 more beers under my belt on Untappd, but unfortunately I haven't been able to get to the blog.  My bad.  I'm up to 141 posts and I think there are about 170 days gone in the year so far so I am about 30 days off.  At this rate I will get ten full months of posts in before new years.  Not too bad.  I have found out that to do this every single day is just unrealistic for me.  I hope that you understand!

Also I am in the throws of Flying Fish Brewery week on here starting off tonight with an IPA, but it is Oregon beer month and I may focus upon some of the Oregon breweries that have beer available here in PA.

So the story of the traditional English IPA is that in order to get Ale to the colonies in India in the 18th century that they had to hop it heavy to allow it to keep from spoiling on the almost year long voyage.  Hops, as you may know, are a great preservative for beer as they have a high acid content and keep bacteria from growing.  This Flying Fish representation is their version of a traditional IPA.  Let's have a look!
This beer pours an amber/light brown colour and is quite clear with a nice two finger head that lasts as very interesting dinosaur patterns on the glass.

The aroma of sweet amber malts is the most obvious of aromas and then as you agitate the beer aromas of bread and citrus tantalize your nose as well as some mild buttery notes.  Yum!  Fairly English in aroma for sure.

Tastes very English in malts and quite malt forward moving towards a bit of tart grapefruit and other mild fruits while blending with some earthy hop bitterness.  Not overly bitter and ending slightly dry, mildly bitter and peppery.

The mouthfeel is creamy with light to moderate body and fairly playful carbonation.

Overall I like this beer and it has a definite English feel to it, but the yeast and the hops seem to be a bit off.  The yeast seems to impart a biscuity and almost Belgian taste to it and the hops seem to be more on the lines of Pacific Northwest in format.  I don't know what they use.  It's a good beer and very drinkable!  I like it!  It's not incredible or awesome, but very satisfying on a warm evening!  3.5 out of 5!

Thanks for reading and I hope that this encourages someone out there to get into craft beer because really, it's the only kind of beer to drink.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 140, Lancaster Brewing Pale Ale

Hi Aleophiles!

Tonight I want to discuss another American Pale Ale from Lancaster Brewing named Lancaster Pale Ale.  An American Pale Ale, if I haven't beaten this style to death, is the American take on the English IPA but Americanized and Texas sized!  Usually big hopped with American grown hops and American ingredients.  Let's see how this one stacks up!
The beer pours a hazy copper colour with a nice one finger head that lasts throughout the drink as a ring and broken cap and leaves nice archway patterns on the glass.

The aroma is biscuity and caramel malty sweet with hints of mellow fruit and some floral hops.  Kind of nice actually but more English than American.  I would expect more hop aroma.

The same goes for the taste.  It starts off malty and sweet with notes of cantaloup caramel and bread and then transitions towards earthy and slightly citrus hop bitterness but maintaining a strong malt foundation.

The mouthfeel is moderately sweet and smooth and light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation.  Very nice and drinkable!

This beer is really nice and tasty.  It's not exacty an APA and more like my favorite style of English Bitters, Ales, etc...  It is, however, exceptionally drinkable and you could have a few of these on a hot summer day with the best of the lagers!

Hey, this was a gift.  If a friend gives you a gift of a new beer, a homebrew, etc...  don't cast it aside and say that I don't like dark beers or something lame like that.  Get out there and drink something good!


Monday, June 24, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 139, Susquehanna Brewing Company 6th generation Stock Ale

Hey Y'all!

This beer has been around for a while and is considered an American Pale Ale as it uses hops from the Pacific Northwest but it also uses grain from Britain and truthfully it tastes very British and mild.  APA's are a take on the original English IPA's that were highly hopped to survive the long sea voyage to India.  Over the decades, for one reason or another,  IPA's lost much of their potency in alcohol and hoppiness.  APA's try to revive the original strength using American ingredients.  

This beer has been around for 6 generations and is reportedly the same as it was way back when which is most likely English in some characteristics.
The beer pours a beautiful rich and clear amber colour with a faint head and very little lacing until agitated and then it fades again.

The aroma is definitely English ale style.  Caramel malts, bready yeast, and light fruit aromas and very mild floral hops.  Very nice indeed!

The taste is equally as nice!  Caramel malty sweet light but sweet enough, some grainy yeast, a tiny bit of dark fruit and apple with a mild hoppy finish.  Bitterness is very light and barely noticeable between sips.

The mouthfeel is smooth and quite light in body but well balanced and highly sessionable!  The carbonation is moderate.  This is a nice beer!

Overall my only complaint is the body being a bit on the thin side and it's a bit off the mark as an APA but I love English ales!  Otherwise this would be an excellent beer getting a solid 4 out of 5!

I'm so glad that I received this as a gift and tried it!  Thanks Rich!  Fantastic style!


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Patching a hole in the hull of a Catalina 22 Sailboat named TARDIS

Elaine!  I'm posting a project for you!  Ha Ha Ha!

I actually haven't posted many of the projects that I have been doing or documenting them either as time is usually short.  But today I decided to start blabbing about my sailboat that my Dad, Uncle Richie and myself procured last fall.  She was basically stripped of all of her wood by my father and uncle and revarnished, cleaned, upgrades made to some hardware, and the keel removed and the pivot bored out and re-sheathed with stainless steel.  The keel is called a swing keel and it is lowered and raised at one end and pivots on the other.  Well the keels fulcrum where it pivots from was really corroded and worn out and the keel was all wibbly wobbly sort of like time travel in the space time continuum.  That was a task!  I will document that later perhaps.  But tonight I want to talk about patching a hole in the hull forward of the keel box in which the keel retracts and pivots in.

Just forward of the box there is a noticeable hole and crack.
Before it was sanded down it was very obvious that the whole problem was caused by a bubble between the layers of fiberglass matting during manufacture and basically is a FAIL on Catalina's part!  Here you can the edges of the bubble with the dental tool in between the layers of glass.
My Dad prepped the surface with the almighty angle grinder and got it ready for filling with epoxy and fiberglass.  I chose to fill the major portions of the hole and deep gouges accompanying the cracks with Q-cell which is glass like fiberglass, but just bubbles instead of glass threads.  It's basically a filler and there were some pretty deep divits to fill.  This is what it looks like after the tape was removed as it was really difficult to try and get a shot of it while forcing it in with the tongue depressor.  The before and after pic would look the same anyway.
The Q-Cell is mixed with a batch of pre-mixed epoxy to the consistency of peanut butter (a thicker ratio may be too dry and not bond well with the surface of the prepped fiberglass.  It is also tricky because the boat was made with polyester resin and epoxy will adhere to dried and cured polyester  resin but polyester resin will not adhere to cured epoxy.  It's weird chemistry but they are two different entities.  Polyester resin does not add any structural integrity and relies purely on the fiberglass for strength and it also dissolves some of the glass as well making it adhere really well but weakening the glass some.  Whereas epoxy molecules lock together in chains forming a structure and protective coat as well as incorporating the fibers of the glass into the mix making it doubly strong as the polyester resin.  It's just a little of a gamble when working with the two.  But anyway, the hole was filled with the wet epoxy and Q-Cell and because it was only peanut butter consistency it had to be dammed in place with painters tape.
This process kept the shape of the hull and the edge of the keel box really well but as I was taping, filler seeped out around the edges of the tape so I had to make sure that I did not let this harden for two reasons;  1.  If it hardened then bits of the tape would be embedded in the filler making it weaker structurally and 2. part of the epoxying process dictates that successive coats of epoxy and fiberglass, etc... have to be within the time that the epoxy cures or there will be no chemical bond between layers and they will peel.  Being that I had planned to do at least two more coats (I actually did 6 more coats) the tape had to be removed and the filler checked for curing.  At about an hour I peeled off the tape gently and the filler still wanted to flow out a little bit so I put down a little bit of wax paper and retaped it.
Feeling that the filler needs to be in contact with air (I'm not sure if this is true, but it seems logical and my experience with these materials has led me to believe that it will cure faster exposed to the environment) I removed this tape and wax paper about 30 minutes later.  When doing this, I keep an eye on the container that the epoxy was mixed in to get an idea of how the cure is going.  On this section I learned that wax paper sticks to epoxy much more than the painters tape does and pulled a bit when removing it leaving a rough surface which was advantageous
for me.  Notice the right side of the patch.

The next step is to fill the depression with as much fiberglass as you can.  I had tons of 6 ounce fiberglass cloth around and put about 4 coats of 4 layers thick of the fabric after the filler step.  
Basically you paint on your epoxy, press down a glass patch and then wet out the glass with more epoxy on your brush.  Here you can see what the glass looks like pressed on to the surface by my vinyl gloved hands.  Where my fingers pressed on the fabric, the glass turns clear as the it wetted by the epoxy.  Then you brush on more epoxy and wet out the rest of the fabric.  I did this with four layers of the fabric and then let it almost cure all the way (chemical bonding) added an other 4 layers of glasss, let it almost cure (chemical bonding), added another layer of four pieces of fabric, etc... for four layers of four layers of fiberglass fabric.  

It is done in thin increments like that because if I were to layer out 16 layers of fabric at one time it would pose two problems:  1.  Thick layers of curing epoxy give off excessive heat as it cures, it can brown,   get extremely brittle after curing, and can delaminate and 2. all of those little spaces in between the stitching in fabric have air holes in them and the patch will not be as strong if all those patches don't get filled with epoxy from the consecutive layer of epoxy and fabric.  

That being said, when it was all finished, I had to come back an hour later before the patch was completely cured for the sake of chemical adhesion and brush on a final filler coat of epoxy to fill the air voids in the top layer of fabric.

Tomorrow it will be sanded flush removing the hill tops of the fabric and then coated with a bigger patch of 3 or 4 layers of glass.  Sanded again and then ready to be finished with the bottom paint for the boat.  WIN!

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 138, Stegmaier Pale Ale


Once again, I have missed two days!  They are racking up!  Instead of 365 days I will be lucky to get 300 I think.  Realistically that is to be expected, especially now that the weather is so nice, but my excuse this time is that I threw a party showcasing 4 of my homebrews out in the workshop on Friday and it took a lot of time and effort!  I put in a bathroom as you may know and had 4 taps going with my beer in them and it was quite an effort getting them borrowed, and working for cornelius kegs.  A good time was had by all.  I was a little busy and didn't get to talk to everyone as much as I had wanted, but I plan on doing it again and you know what?  I had a great time, and so did everyone else.  What really helped was it being a beautiful first night of summer with a super moon!  WOW!

So tonight I am drinking a beer gifted to me by Rich Wagner in a glass gifted to me by Tom Coughlin from the party.  Thanks to you both and all of my guests for bringing foodstuffs, charcoal, etc... and it was great to see my best friend Joe Gass along with all of my other great friends!  It was truly amazing and I am thankful to know som many really cool and down to earth people!

Stegmaier Pale Ale:  Style- American Pale Ale.
Screw Top Bottle!  Not homebrewer friendly!  FAIL,  points lost.

The beer pours a nice clear and copper colour with a huge 3 finger head and leaves and excellent lacing pattern that looks like the Beatles in the one cartoon where they have really long hair.  Trippy!

When it's warming the beer smells mildly malty with bready yeast and notes of orange peel, citrusy hops and honey.  It's very faint but nice.  You have to let this beer warm for those to come out.  Cold it's average.

Taste wise this beer is balanced really well.  Earthy hop bitterness mixed with orange peel play with some almost caramel sweet maltiness equally throughout the sip.

The mouthfeel is smooth but a bit on the thin side.  The carbonation moderate.

Overall I am going to say that this is not the best American pale ale that I have had.  It's a bit on the watery side, but the balance of flavours and aromas is excellent!  If it weren't for the thin mouthfeel I would be giving this 4 out of 5.  But I do believe that this beer is excellent for summer activities AND that it would be a great crossover beer for the craft beer beginner and it gets points for that!

This would be a great beer for you to get off your lazy arse to try and become hooked on good beer!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 137, Full Pint Kolsch

Hi everyone!

Tonight I am doing a Kolsch from Full Pint and I believe that it is a pretty good representation of what little I know of the style.  This may only be my second Kolsch that I have reviewed so bear with me!  Kolsch is obviously German from Koln.  It's really light in colour, hop assertive, a bit malty with a dry finish.
The beer poured crystal clear and straw coloured from the bottle and had very little head but stayed as a ring throughout the drink.  Lacing was minimal.  Beautiful looking!

The aroma is definitely of sweet pale malts,  some biscuity yeast and an almost imperceptible, unless you agitate the beer well,  grassy hop nose.

There is a pretty good balance between the pale malt sweetness and the earthy hop bitterness which comes alive half-way through the sip.  The finish is dry and slightly peppery.  Some light biscuity yeast is present through the sip as well.  Another reviewer mentioned cardboard, I'm not really getting that, but I may be confusing it with the earthy hops at the finish.  I'm not overly familiar with this style it being maybe my 5th or 6th kolsch ever, but I think it's pretty dang good!

The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, a bit more than I have had, slightly slick on the tongue and dry.  Carbonation in this beer is medium and quite nice.

Overall, I would have to say that this fits the descriptions of a kolsch that I have read and there is really nothing that offends me or seems like an off-flavour.  I really like this beer and this style and recommend trying it to anyone.  Especially if you can get it on tap in the summer!  

Hey, this might not be the perfect cross-over beer for you, but you never know until you try it!  Good luck!


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 136 Full Pint Brown Ale

Hi!  I'm having a late start as I am prepping for a party this Friday so I'm not going to have a picture tonight with my beer because my phone is dead!  AHHHH what to do without a phone!

Anyway, hats off to Full Pint brewing for doing a brown ale which I don't see many of.  Brown Ale is kind of a catch-all description for basically a brown ale which was developed in Britain.  I believe (there is not much info on this beer) that this one is an American brown ale which of course can use American ingredients or have coffee and nuts added to it.  Alcohol can be mellow or high and the same for hops.

This one is really middle of the road and delicious

It poured a hazy brown in colour with a thin tan head made of tiny bubbles that leaves a quickly falling lacing pattern.

The aroma is dominated by roasted malt sweetness, biscuity yeast, and very mild hints of coffee and vanilla.

Astonishingly the flavour is the same!  It is caramel malt sweet throughout most of the sip with hints of roasted coffee, butterscotch and vanilla until the end when a very mild earthy hop bitterness comes into play.  It's balanced in favour of the sweet, but it's very nice.

It's got a full bodied and sweet mouthfeel with moderate carbonation and leaves a little slick on the tongue.

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who likes English Ales and newbies to craft beer as I feel that it is highly drinkable!  If I had any complaint it would be that its a little too sweet, but barring that I think it's excellent and gets a 3.90 out of 5.00!

I'm so glad that I tried this beer!  You should try it too!


Monday, June 17, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 135, Full Pint All-In Amber

Hello interweb beer prowlers!

Tonight I am drinking what is classified as an American Amber / Red Ale and is basically a beer with reddish hues and malt forward yet balanced well with hop bitter and a tad of toasted grain thrown in there.  Let's take a look!

This beer is positively clear and amber with a thin white head and a cool stalactite / stalagmite lacing pattern!

The aroma is like caramel malts mixed with date bread and a tiny bit of chocolate.  It's a very alluring combination!

Just as the nose the flavour is caramel malty in character, grainy with notes of dark fruit.  It starts off a bit bready and grainy and mid way it evolves into a malty sip and then finishes with some earthy hop bitterness which is actually a bit dry which makes this beer fairly complex!

The mouthfeel is moderate to full bodied, a little slick, and sweet transitioning to dry.  Very nice!  The carbonation is moderate making this a perfect beer!

Overall I find this beer exceptional and would recommend it to anyone, even someone new to craft beer as it would be a great crossover to one that has a little bit of hop bitterness to lure them in to the world of IPA's.

I'm glad that I tried this beer and I hope that you do one day as well!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 134, Free Will Citra Pale Ale

Yo Philly (and others)!

Tonight I am having another American Pale Ale from Free Will Brewing in Perkasie, PA.  As you know, an American Pale Ale is the Americanized version of an English IPA so let's give this one a whirl, how about it?

This beer was highly carbonated, hazy and gold out of the bottle with a huge white head and frothy lacing.

The aroma is definitely citrus and hoppy but not overly so with some pale sweet malts and a hint of bread.

I'm getting a citrus like bitterness with some pale malt sweetness underneath and finishing a little piney.  The carbonation is the first thing to hit your tongue bringing out some bitterness immediately then the malts are pretty apparent mid way through and then the bittering takes hold near the end.

The mouthfeel is pretty full, a little slick, and the finish dry but the carbonation is hot.  It's a bit overcarbonated.

The beer is fairly hoppy, but only a bit more than a perfect balance, the carbonation is a little too much and the mouthfeel a little slippery.  All in all, it's good.  A few tweaks here and there and this is going to be a great beer!  I like the hop profile!  3.5 out of 5!

Good beer isn't going to come to you!  You have to seek it out!  Try new beer!  Life is too short to drink crappy beer!


Friday, June 14, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 133, Full Pint Hobnobber Session IPA

Good Evening,  Happy Friday!

I apologize once again for missing another post!  Last night I went to review a really nice pub with some craft beers on tap for Out On the Town Magazine.  My friend Donny Smith and I have an article called Ale on the Town and we try and review places in Northeast Philly that are starting on the craft brew scene as there aren't many places in this area.  I will later include the link to the articles that we write as would seem only the smart thing to do!

Locally, it seems that most of Philly is still recovering from Beer Week as it takes a lot out of the publicans and brewers so I would like to say thanks to all of those involved for showing us a great time and invite them to my little party next weekend.

Tonight's beer!  Hobnobber Session IPA.  It seems that a new name has arisen for a light hoppy beer!  This beer is actually considered an APA or American Pale Ale which has been derived from the original IPA taken to India via ship during the early 1800's and had to be hopped extra to preserve the beer for the long trip.  American's have to have everything big.  I call it "Texas Envy" so they hop it more and use local ingredients.  This beer has less alcohol, 3%ABV, and is therefore considered sessionable, or capable of being imbibed in higher quantity, ie. good for summer BBQ's!

Hazy gold in colour with a thin white head and cool dragon tooth lacing this beer smells faintly of grapefruit, earthy hops and pale malt.  Of course, I poured it a bit too cold and I am sure more aromas will come out but for now it smells like an APA.  What I first noticed about it when I took the first sip was it was very light in body (thin) and fairly hoppy.  The earthy flavoured hops are pretty forward in the sip with mild pale malt sweetness underneath.  The beer finishes fairly dry with some peppery notes and leaves a thin coat on the tongue.  I would say that this beer is excellent for parties or outdoor events with food to those who enjoy a little hop bitterness and don't want to get wicked drunk.  At 3% ABV you could enjoy more than just one or two.  This being a bit hoppy would also pair well with food and in that respect I highly recommend it!  In comparing with most APA's it falls a little short in the body department and I am going to have to score it a bit lower than my enjoyment level.  3.5 out of 5.

Hey, it's summer (almost) and this is the time to put down that crappy macro pee water from Bodweazle and Milfnair and get some real beer!  


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 132, Full Pint Chinookie IPA

HI Everyone!

Tonight's beer is from Full Pint Brewing Company in North Versailles, PA. and is classified an American IPA which is just an English IPA Americanized with American hops and ingredients and maybe dialed up a bit more on the bitter side.
The beer poured amber and hazy with a thin yellow head that pretty much fades unless you agitate the beer for aroma and the lacing is nice.

Aromas are of very piney hops grapefruit and sweet amber malt with a bit of bready yeast to it.

Bitterness starts off this fare with hints of pine and very strong grapefruit.  About mid-way malt sweetness shows up and then is pushed back by even more piney bitter from the hops.  There are strong hints of tropical fruit as well and as this warms they show up better.

The mouthfeel is creamy, full bodied, and dry with moderate or above carbonation.

Overall this is a good beer!  I get a strange fruity smell in the aroma that I can't quite put my finger on and it does detract from the beer.  It's an IPA so it's hoppy as hell!  I'd like to get a taste of this on tap and see how it compares.  I would recommend this beer with some good spicy foods.  I'm going to score this beer about 3.5 out of 5.  It didn't really wow me, but I'm not a huge bitter fan either.

Hey, you never know unless you try!  And you gotta try!


Monday, June 10, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 131, Troegs DreamWeaver Wheat

Hi everyone!

It's been a long day.  The brewery out back got it's toilet back.  In the 40's when it was built there were facitilities, but I  removed them (two heads) to conserve space and because they were destroyed by time.  So now, we have a dunny!  No walls yet.  HAHAHAHA!

Anyway,  tonight's beer is a hefeweizen and those are typified by using half barley and half wheat for the grains and a phenolic (Belgian-like) yeast that has aromas and flavors of bananas, bubble gum, apples, etc... and can finish on the dry side with a fairly lively amount of carbonation.  This beer fits that description to the "T".
The beer pours hazy and gold with an excellent two finger soft white head that lasts and leaves pretty cool lacing patterns on the glass.

The aromas are just like the description of a hefeweizen with notes of banana, bubblegum, and apple floating above a nice pale malt sweetness.  This bottle has a hint of skunk aroma to it as well and I believe that to be not of the breweries fault, but the bottle may be old, but it's hard to tell as the date has been worn off.  A few points will have to be deducted though.  I have had this on tap and it does not have the skunk aroma.

The beer starts off light and pale malt sweet with light phenolic flavours of bubblegum and tart apple only very faint and the beer then smooths out with a noticeable wheat presence and then finally takes on some very nice mild hop bitterness, only VERY mild and spicy.  Some skunk presence as my last burp can attest to.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin, not overly so, which makes it highly sessionable, but it seems a little light.  The carbonation is lively but when the wheat comes through about mid-way on the palate, the carbonation mellows.  The beer goes through some nice transformations!

Overall I am going to say that this beer's complexity is really neat!  It all works well and goes through a pretty cool transition.  The only complaint towards the beer is that it is a little thin and light in mouthfeel.  The skunk flavour is a big NO-NO but not this beer's fault.  AND it's not overt so it's actually not all that detracting.  Would I recommend this beer?  Hell YES!  Especially for summer!  4 out of 5 for this beauty!

Get off the dunny from drinking that macro crap and try this beer!  As the end to Troegs week closes, I would recommend this brewery!  I think their creations are fantastic and probably one of the better ones from Pennsylvania!


Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 130, Troegs Perpetual IPA

Hi everyone!

I hope that you locals enjoyed Philly Beer Week!  Mine was laid back.  I mostly just went to the Grey Lodge Pub and enjoyed their offerings.  Philly Beer Geek was pretty exciting last Thursday!  Mike Lawrence who was sponsored by the Grey Lodge and is the producer of the documentary Beeradelphia ran away with the prize.  He truly deserved it and was up against some really excellent competition!  It really was great fun and I hope that it keeps on growing because I really think it pulls everyone in the area together.  Good times.

Tonight's beer is two days late because of Philly Beer Week but that is OK, if you have followed me on Untappd, I added about a dozen new beers and two more new badges.  Pretty cool.  So now I continue Troegs Week with Troegs Perpetual IPA which is yet again another Double or Imperial IPA.  This style is fast becoming a favourite of mine!  It's hoppier, but it's also maltier and there is a bit more of a balance to be looked for in this style.  Of course, the ABV will be higher and we want to hide that alcohol flavour.
This beer pours a clear gold to amber colour with a nice one finger head that lasts and leaves a cool cracked desert pattern on my tulip glass.  I poured it cold, but I sort of had to after a long hot day working.  It will warm and offer niceties. 

Aromas are of grapefruit and other citrus with a definite hint of pine.  It's awesome!  There is a foundation of pale malt sweetness and a bit of honey, but the nose is mostly grapefruit and pine. 

The beer starts off equally mild malty and hoppy and as the sip progresses more bittering comes out in the form of grapefruit and lemon peel with a mildly dry yet fairly bitter ending.

The mouthfeel is medium full yet drying and bitter with an alcohol tingle.  The carbonation is moderate but enough to really bring that citrus to your nose and palate with a little bit of a burn.

Overall I would say that this is exceptional as it has all of what this style needs and more in the way of hops.  It's a little more bitter than the favourites of mine, but still exceptional and would drink this again and recommend it to other IPA fans!  4 out of 5!

Yeah man!  I hope you got your fizzy yellow water drinking ass off the couch and enjoyed some Beer Week festivities as they are a great way to learn about new beer!  If you didn't this year, I suggest next year!  There are lots of pretty girls that enjoy craft beer you know!


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 129, Troegs Sunshine Pils

Hey all!

It's Philly Beer Week and I again missed a night of my own Troegs Week as I was at the Grey Lodge with my nephew who is in the Navy and I don't get to see him much and I was checking out some Neshaminy Creek Beers along with saying Hi to the Philadelphia Brewing Company crew.  I couldn't stay out long but I did taste two excellent beers from NCBC an unfiltered Pils and an IPA both were excellent!  

Tonight I am going with a Pilsner as well as the style is still fresh in my memory and this one a bit different than last nights.  This fare from Troegs is called Sunshine Pils and is a great summer beer!  This one is a German "Pilsener" which are straw in colour with a big head and a bit on the hoppy side using German varieties of hops.
The beer was poured cold and moisture condensed on the glass but it is crystal clear and of a solid straw yellow.  The head was almost a finger full and I poured it a bit aggressive but then it faded to just a thin ring around the glass but if you agitate the beer to get aroma, the head returns and leaves nice lacing.

The aroma is mellow and of pale malt sweetness and yeast, some grain a bit of lemon and very faint herbal hop aroma.  It is refreshing!

It starts off tasting thinly malt sweet with a grassy earthy bitterness on top, some grain and yeast amid mild lemon and a licorice-like feeling of spicy numbness on the tongue which really become more present as the beer warms.  It finishes peppery and mild to moderately bitter.

I think the mouthfeel is thin to medium bodied with a mild sweetness that vanishes at the end, which is pretty cool!  There is a mild peppery feel that is accentuated by the slightly above moderate carbonation.  Also a slick feel on the tongue.

Overall, this is an excellent summer beer!  It is much less hoppy than the Neshaminy Creek Pils that I had last night and I would have to say mild for it's style as well as a bit thin making this an awesome beer for a camping trip if it were in a can!  I'm sure it's equally as nice on tap!  I recommend this beer and think pretty highly of it!  I'm going to score it in the very high 3's or better!

Thanks for reading and I hope that you get a chance to get out and try this one!  Local boys Troegs really have a great lineup of beer and I have two more to go for Troegs Week!


Monday, June 3, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 128, Troegs Troegenator Doublebock Beer

Hi beer lovers!

Tonight I am going to review another beer from the Troegs Brewery in Hershey, PA, but first I want to talk about why I was away for two days again.  It's Beer Week!  And although I haven't been hitting a lot of the events I have caught a few.  One in particular was a wheat weekend at The Grey Lodge Pub, near my home and this is where I enjoyed many a sour beer on Saturday and my favorite in the ten beer lineup (I only drank 7) was Sanctification from Russian River which also happened to be the more sour of the lineup.  It's weird because I used to dislike the idea of sour beers and this event opened my eyes!  In keeping with beer week I also endeavored to keg 3 beers and do a little work on a small beer that I made and was cloudy.  I was thinking that it was infected, but I got no real bad tastes from it other than it was still sweet and with a gravity reading of 1.022 I decided to add finings to the batch and mix real well and put back in the chamber.  Well, it started fermentation again AND cleared up.  Go figure.  This is well after I tried to cold crash it to settle out the haze.  I'm kind of happy that I gave this beer some effort because it was a beer that was pretty much free to brew as I reused the grains and the yeast straight from another fermentor and there in lies where I thought it may have gotten skunked.  I"m crossing my fingers!  Anyway, I had not found the time to write and I know it detracts from my original plan on doing this every night, but that goal is just not realistic!  I am giving it my full effort though!  I'm just trying to relax a little as well.  So I hope that you all enjoy my writings.  I have been making an effort to shorten the reviews a bit so not to loose any audience.  I'm always looking for feedback so please, feel free to say "hey!"

I'm drinking a Doppelbock from Troegs tonight.  That style is German in origin and a lager with generally a stronger profile than just a lager.  A doppelbock (double bock) is a lager with double the malt and more like a meal in a glass.  Full bodied these beers can even take on some roasted character and this one does a little!
I poured this beer relatively cool but it has warmed as I wrote that bit.  It poured a dark mohagany colour and is clear!  The one finger head faded to just a faint ring around the glass and leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is caramel malty sweet dominant with raisin bread and cherries as well.

AS this beer warms, more comes out!  Imagine that!  It's main flavour is caramel malt and is really forward but there are definitely solid black cherry notes as well as a mild roasted flavor and a bit of bready yeastiness.  (I love making up beer words).  As the sip finishes the roasted notes actually dry out the sweet a bit keeping it from being "cloying" and some very mild peppery notes arrive.  There is a VERY mild hop bitterness and a slight warming from the alcohol, but not much in the way of being noticed flavor wise.

The mouthfeel is obviously full and sweet and admittedly like candy, but it's not sickening sweet and quite drinkable.  The carbonation is kept at bay by the sweetness and is low.  Pretty typical for this style.  It does make a transition into dry which is pretty interesting!  LIKE!

Overall, I would LOVE to try this on tap as I find it pretty dang good in the bottle.  Personal feelings about the beer aside, I think this fits into the style excellently especially with the roasted notes and also pulls off a pretty amazing cover up of the alcohol and provides some nice roasted notes.  I would say that this is pert near being world class and gets a solid 4.5 out of 5 overall from me.

Try this beer.  Try this style of beer.  It's a good transition actually as it is low in IBU's (hop bitterness) and high in alcohol.  Enjoy life!  Drink good beer!


Friday, May 31, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 127, Troegs Hopback Amber Ale

Hey everyone!

Amidst Philly Beer Week, here I am at home reviewing local beers!  It's cool.  I've decided to limit myself to a few events and volunteer where I can.  I don't like crowds really, but it is good to get out and mingle.  I would like to extend an invite out to anyone who is looking to dodge the crowds to come hang out at my shop.  This Saturday would be good, but next Saturday people may need a change from the crowds the most, so I'm doing that!

Tonight is the next installment to Troegs Week with Hopback Amber Ale which is considered an American Ale.  These ales for the most part can have any range of ingredients like toasted malts and hops in varying colours of amber and some are even oktoberfest-like but in ale form.
I poured this beer cold and the glass instantly collected condensation from the humidity in my highrise cabin.  It poured a crystal clear amber colour with a full one finger head that fell to a thick ring and full cap on top of the beer and leaves what looks like the view of all the heads and shoulders of a very crowded room of people.  Weird!

Aromas of caramel malt and piney/citrusy hops are most noticeable at first and then as it warms some bread and tropical fruits pop up.

Balance is the name of the game with this beer!  All through the sip the caramel malt character is present and so are the piney/citrusy hops which start off solid, fade a bit and then finish solid.  A smooth breadiness as well as fruit like mango appear towards the middle of the sip and finally a mild bitter from the same hops finish the beer off with a hint of spice.

It's a pretty refreshing and smooth mouthfeel both mildly sweet and slightly hoppy dry and a thin to medium body.  The finish is pretty neat and dry.  A slight slick feeling on the tongue, but only very slight.  Hop resins?  I've read that the body on this beer is fuller on draught and would love to try it from the tap!

Overall I find this beer exceptional!  I would recommend it as a crossover into hoppy beers as it is delightfully easy to drink and whets the hop appetite as well.  A solid 4.25 is due for this beer!

I'm so glad that I try different beer as often as I can as I am really starting to enjoy all the different variations and complexities from the different brewers and am finding that local breweries here in Philadelphia really can compete with the rest of the world!  You should try some too!


Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 126, Troegs Pale Ale

Good evening!

I hope you are enjoying the Philly local temperatures!  It's hot, but it's not humid so it's completely bearable.

Tonight seems like a good night for an American Pale Ale which is a pale ale of recent invention and can be of local ingredients to the brewer, if desired, and is stepped up a bit in ingredients from a pale ale.  The category seems like it's pretty broad to me with no real specifics to look for.  The one I chose for tonight is from Troegs in Hershey, PA and it seemed a good idea as I have recently had a few other local APA's and can compare notes.  Let's have a look!
I poured this beer fairly cold from the bottle into a tulip glass and it poured a gold to amber color clear and crisp with a two finger head that settles to a nice full ring and Friar Tuck center cap with lacing that looks like Charlie Brown Halloween ghost costumes on the glass.  GHOUL!  Er, cool!

The aroma is of sweet pale malt, lemon peel and floral aromatic hops and some grapefruit-like yeast esters.

The sip starts off mellow and mildly sweet with pale malt and caramel with a bit of floral hops for good measure and as the the beer passes across your tongue and palate some of that sweetness fades and grapefruit mixed with the malt sweetness is balanced with the now more apparent floral and citrus hops and finally the beer finishes with hop bitterness overriding a bit of malt sweetness.

The moutfeel is light and smooth, slightly dry and leaves a slick feeling on the tongue.  Carbonation is moderate and playful.

Overall, I find this beer incredibly drinkable!  The body is light enough as to where you can drink a few on a hot day but not session them.  Preferably they would imbibed indoors in the AC.  At first this beer is not at all that bitter but by the end of the glass there is an aftertaste for sure making this a tough beer to recommend as a transition beer from pee-water but making it an excellent example of an APA!  This one is tough to score.  I don't like the slimy feeling on my tongue and will have to take points for that but all in all, EXCELLENT!  4 out of 5!!

Don't like hoppy beer?  Give it time.  Once you get your lazy arse off that couch and out to the pub to try something different in your life, you will gain an appreciation of the positive attributes of hops!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 125, Troegs Java Head

Hi beer lovers!

Tonight is the start of Troegs Week right on the heels of Philly Beer Week so hopefully I will be attending some events around this great city or even volunteering!

Tonight I am drinking a stout that is in the category of oatmeal stouts so along with a fairly full body, roasted malts tasting of dark chocolate or coffee also expect a surprisingly smooth mouthfeel and a bit of sweetness added by the oats!  This beer is also brewed with coffee beans so that may throw some extra roastiness into the mix but I am betting that it lends a bit of balance to the beer.  Let's give it a try!
I poured this beer into a tulip glass at a fairly cool temperature so I let it cool down a bit.  The beer poured jet black and clear with a full three finger head that receded to a full ring and thin cap which leaves and interesting "hands across America" lacing pattern that falls to polka dots.  WE-EARED!

The aroma is pretty typical of a sweet stout.  Roasted malts take the forefront being sweet and leading to cocoa, vanilla and oat biscuity notes.

The flavour is dominated by roasted malts starting off sweet and then instantly moving towards a coffee bitterness topped with hints of vanilla cream.  The sweetness fades really fast after the vanilla smoothness and the beer finishes amazingly dry.  It's an obvious transition.  If this were a musical piece it would be quite a work of art.  If I get any hops they are more towards the end after the roasted bitterness and a bit earthy.  It also ends slightly peppery.  The high alcohol content is hidden well.

The mouthfeel is on the thin side of medium to full bitter and dry with a quick interlude of sweet somewhere in the beginning of the sip.  There is also a bit of a film on my tongue, but not overly so.  The carbonation is playfully moderate starting off playful then mellowing.  It's a pretty cool transition just as is the sweet to dry thang that it has going on.

Overall I find this beer really super interesting in the transitions that it goes through!  I did find it a little on the roasted bitter side and not as balanced as I had thought.  I also thought it was just a little thinner in body.  These things don't really detract from the beer, but may not fit the style 100%.  But you know, craft beer is all about creativity and this is a VERY creative beer!  There are no off flavours, etc... It's getting a solid 4 or better from me!  I bet this beer is incredible on tap and would get higher scores!

If you love your beer, leave it.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Get out there and play the field!  It's a mighty big field and "free love" is what craft beer is all about!


Monday, May 27, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 124, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Happy Memorial Day!

Thanks Vets, past and present for you service and sacrafices!

I saved my beverage consumption for the evening as it seems like there are many a drinkers out on the roads and I didn't want to be one of them.  Instead I went shopping, did laundry, went for a hike with dad, cleaned up the shops brewery area, and cooked buffalo burgers for mom and dad!  It was a pretty relaxing day actually!

So for tonight I saved a can of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale to do another can test and see if it tastes metallic.  Plus, I like this beer!  It's an American Pale Ale which is popular around the world now and sort of an alternative to IPA's.  It's basically a "pale ale" made with ingredients mostly local the the brewery and, of course, American versions are crisp and hoppy compared to the british versions which are a bit buttery.  

The can is tastefully decorated unlike some that look like bad tattoos.  Well Done!

The beer pours clear golden colour with a slight haze and a full two finger head that fades to a full ring and center cap and has nice light lacing.

The aroma is of sweet pale malt,  mild biscuity yeast, citrus and some piney hops.

The taste is fairly malty then citrusy mid way through, a little honey mixed in then a mild pine hop presence finishes the beer off ending mildly dry and slightly peppery.  Balanced well!

Mouthfeel is light to medium body and smoothly sweet with medium carbonation.

Overall this beer is balanced, smooth and exceptional!  I would recommend this as a crossover beer for someone addicted to crappy macro beer!

Get out there and try this!  You will love it!


Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 123, Oskar Blues G'Knight Imperial Red IPA

Hi Everyone!

Tonight I am drinking a beer from a can!  I will probably at some point devote much of the summer posts to canned beer to see if I really can tell the difference as compared with bottled beer.  Many say that they taste like metal, but in reality they should not.  So tonight I have a beer from one of the first to can their beer Oskar Blues and this installation is classified as an Imperial IPA or Double IPA which if you have been reading any of my posts is brewed with double the amount of barley making it sweeter and allowing the brewer to up the amount of hops yet keeping the beer balanced.  Let's see what we think of this one!
I poured this beer from the tall boy can at about 55 degrees F and its color is definitely clear and coppery with a full 3 finger head that settles to a full cap of fine bubbles and leaves a nice archway looking lacing patter on the glass.

The aroma is very malty sweetly smelling of caramel, honey and bread with hints of citrus fruits (tangerine?) and hops.  Now when I first opened the cans I was hit with a rush of floral hops, but as it settles and warms in the glass they smell a little more piney but only way in the background.

The taste is sensationally caramel hop sweet and bready with a mix of dark fruit and grapefruit with only a mild hop finish that is faintly dry.  Some alcohol is apparent mid sip, but only faintly so but she is warming on an empty stomach!  This is a very well balanced beer leaning a little to the sweet side.

The mouthfeel is sweet, smooth and full with mild carbonation and a mild dry finish with a hint of black pepper numbness.

Overall I am going to give this beer props!  Number one, this review was from a can and I have no hints of metal in my beer at all.  If I was drinking from the can, then yes, I probably would.  You know what, a metal flavor to beer is not all that detracting.  What is detracting from beer is cheap adjuncts.  This beer is a solid 4 out of 5 or better and it ranks up there with many of the Imperial IPA's that I have had and can surely hold it's own.  You gotta try it!

I was never an IPA fan, but then I got off my ass and tried them.  I invested some time to them and found that I love the double/imperials the best.  You really should give something different a try.  I can never get tired of helping someone move from swill to godly nectar!