Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 60, Weyerbacher Double Simcoe Double IPA

This beer is considered an American Double/Imperial IPA so I am expecting big malt, big hops and big alcohol.  I'm not sure how this one is going to pan out just yet...

I poured the beer at about 55 degrees or warmer into a chimay goblet and it is a mostly clear, slightly cloudy deep amber with a hint of red.  There was a thin ring of off-white fine bubbles around the glass from the start and stayed the entire time leaving a neat parched desert lacing pattern on the glass.

The aroma was fairly hoppy like pine, with citrus in the way of grapefruit and a hint of caramel malt sweetness.

Once again, the flavour profile is almost identical to the aroma.  The sip starts out with a bit of hop, then instantly mellows to grapefruit and caramel malts with hops taking a back seat.  The the hops assert themselves again at the end.

The mouthfeel is pleasantly full for an IPA since probably double the malts were used in making this beer.  Someone used the word sticky to describe it.  I feel a bit of that going on.  The finish is finally dry, but overall it's balanced really well until the finish.  With medium carbonation the beer almost has a creamy feel to it.

Overall, I love this beer and I bet it is pretty popular with the IPA crowd.  I would definitely seek this beer out again.  I can see that if you were a hop-head you might be disappointed, but I am totally not!  In fact, I was pleasantly surprised!

I'm going to have to say that this beer is an excellent 4 or higher out of five!

Life is too short to drink crappy beer, give this one a go if you want to be adventurous for the first time with an IPA!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 58, Wolavers Alta Gracia Coffee Porter


Mi Amigo, Mike.  You would like this if you like PBC Joe!  (Oh, by the way, I gave up editing because these take too long to write, grammar shmammer!  I should though, really should, kind of have been regretting not the last few or so posts or so.)  - like there!  I should have edited that better!

So before I get into it.  Joe, my college buddy, it's been great having you here in Philly.  If I hadn't moved back, we probably wouldn't have reconnected and that would have been wrong.  Through you I met an awesome crew of people all except that cheese artist guy who is picky on things like grammar!  ha ha ha  I was hurt to the core with that one!  *snickering philly-type Ha Ha laugh*  Only kidding.  The selfish part of me wishes you didn't split.  The part that is happy want's you to succeed as inspiration to us all!  F@ck dude, hone those surfing skillz and save me a spot on your floor!  Find me a barista job even though I hate coffee.  One of my true best friends.  I'm a rich man.

So like tonight I was out seeing my buddy Joe off.  Went to Pizza Brain.  I can't eat pizza.  The cheese was good!  Macy ate the dough, I ate the cheese.  Good times.  I drank lots of  Eddie's Small bier instead of eating.  You know, I didn't get bloated from the beer.  I'm liking this cheap table beer!  My friends, to my astonishment as they know beer, liked it as well.  The hops were mostly floral in that beer Mike, did you notice?  Smelled hoppy, and only tasted slightly floral and not bitter.  Anyway, we all had fun poking jibes at each other, but really we were sad to see Joe leave.  Who else is going to get drunk at our age and do cartwheels to impress the girls?  Just kidding Joe, as I'm impressed that you can do that sh!t with your f@cked up knees!  Anyway, I had a diversion of tantamount importance and wasn't going to write the review tonight.  And it's a struggle, but I have this fantastic beer next to me that was my inspiration!  I read about it a few times and once recently from the plethora of beer periodicals that I brought with me on the EL (elevated train) to keep me company for jury duty.

Wolavers Alta Gracia Coffee Porter.  Did I mention that I hate coffee?  Such a strong emotion hate.  I may have to reassess that emotion.  I have been a fan of Wolavers as they serve the Organic Brown at the Goodfoot in Portland, Oregon.  It was one of my favorite hangouts and I do miss my friends from there.  Carrie, remember Jujuba?  I really enjoyed the organic brown and was looking forward to trying this beer tonight.  I am glad that I am having it this evening.  A special night that I had a blast AND am reminiscing of old friends afar from both east and west.

 The beer I poured at room temperature into that tulip looking glass. A good glass to test beer in as it funnels aromas toward your knows (nose). I learned that from the new DFH beer glass video.

It poured a very brown black and clear with very little head of medium brown bubbles. I was a little wary from the look of the head. But that dissipated (the head, not the worries. in fact, with the head dissipating I worried more) and the larger sized bubbles were replaced with a nice ring on top of the beer of super fine bubbles that leave a really cool archway looking lacing pattern on the glass. I tend to wonder sometimes that if under controlled conditions if the same beer from the same batch AND a different batch would leave the same kind of lacing pattern on the glass. Like a fingerprint.

Aromas are super pleasant and an equal mix of coffee, roasted malt, caramel malt and an underlying note of vanilla, one of it's ingredients. I know there is a slight hop aroma in there somewhere, but can't pinpoint it.

The taste is phenomenally similar to the description of the aroma. Wow! If compared side by side with PBC, regrettably I would choose this. In no way do I mean to offend, but I was never a Joe Porter fan until recently when I had it on a tour there on tap and then again tonight with a reputedly new formula which tasted creamier and with vanilla. Not sure, just my observation. But anyway the Wolavers is smooth, creamy, very much like coffee and vanilla in with roasted malt and some caramel. Hops aren't super apparent but there and only really noticeable, to me, at the end. I do not that the beer is slightly sweeter than it is hoppy, but mostly balanced well.

Mouthfeel is mostly full, creamy and lightly sweet with light carbonation that really lifts the coffee and vanilla to your nose and taste buds. Hops are apparent at the end leaving a dry and bitter, but not overly floral bitter, in your mouth. It really is a function of making you want more and I do!

Overall, I give this beer a 4, or better, out of 10. I'm going to review this on Beer Advocate and see where the numbers take me, but I really love this beer!

You gotta get out and try these beers! Life is too short for those crappy beers! Don't let them tell you what to drink!

-Wiss, and Fish, but really Hooper

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 57, Boddingtons Pub Ale

A description of an English Pale Ale as per Beer Advocate: "A mix of fruity, hoppy, earthy, buttery and malty aromas and flavors can be found."  That is what this beer aspires to be.  It also has this:
The cascading is just like that of Guinness.  This beer has a lot going for it in looks!

This beer I poured from a 40-ish degree can into an imperial pint.  You gotta pour it quick as it will overflow.  It poured a golden straw color that is very clear below the cascading bubbles and worked its way up as the cascading tapers off and the head decreases.  The head was a huge super creamy 3 finger head.  Boddingtons says that this effect from the nitro can is supposed to mimic the natural aeration of the classic English pub hand pump.  The head dies down to a 1 finger creamy head for the rest of the drink.

The first aroma that I got was banana.  Presumable from the hops, but half way through the beer that died away.  Now just the underlying aroma of light malt and some grassy or piney hops remain very light.  Not overly aromatic.  Almost like a lager.

The taste.  Hmmmm.  Retracing my steps, I get the banana somewhere at the end and before that some metallic or plain old dirt flavors of hops and mild malts.  Some people were describing it as metallic, but to me it tastes more like sliding into 3rd base on a dry hot day.  It's apparent, but not overly so.  If you can look past that its a good beer for having with Indian food.  Strong strong indian food.

The mouthfeel is light and watery and not overly pleasant.  There is carbonation that you can see visually, but it's not noticeable on the tongue at all.  The finish is dry from the hops, but not floral or citrus like in any way, just dry with some peppery notes.  Very Flat Mouthfeel.

In fact, I think the flavor and the mouthfeel are both flat.  There really aren't many redeeming qualities that I like about this beer.  I can session it and it's not horrible.  But I most likely given a choice would drink something else.  If someone gave them to me for free, I'd do a handstand and sing Gilligan's Island like I would for any free beer!

My overall score out of 5 for this beer will be a 3, which is average.  I may quibble on that if I get it on draught or something.

All in all, the experience was worth it because life is too short to drink crappy beer!


Monday, February 25, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 56, Samuel Smith's India Ale

Another hit from the rock star Samuel Smith!  OK folks, this is my favorite IPA so far!  World Class!  Sam Smith's has yet to disappoint!  I actually saw a bottle of Samuel Smith's in an old episode of a BBC show called All Creatures Great and Small that was from 1978 and took place in the late 1930's.  It was pretty cool to see it!
This is a straightforward beer, not very complex, but extremely smooth and probably the only IPA that I had so far that I personally would consider sessionable.  IPA stands for India Pale Ale and if you turn the dial on the way back clock you will find this beer on board tall ships heading for India.  Hops were basically a preservative for beer and because of the long trip, more hops were added to make the beer survive the journey which could take up to a year!  This beer is hence forth in the class of English IPA's.

The bottle that I am drinking from may be a year old or more.  There is no date on the bottle, but it tastes really mellow!

I poured the beer from a large crimp top bottle which is a homebrewers dream!  Points scored!

The beer poured a very clear light copper color with a nice three finger head at 55 degrees.  Perfect temperature.  The head has excellent cathedral pillar looking lacing that is sticky to the sides and the head stays as a full cap and ring throughout the drink from my imperial pint glass.

The aroma is of mellow light caramel malts biscuity yeast and apricots.

The taste is out of this world smooth caramel malts, some biscuity tastes (very light) and some light fruit flavours all combined and balanced nicely with a bit of dry hops which really don't become exceedingly apparent until the finish which is only slightly dry.  Incredibly pleasant.

Mouthfeel is smooth and moderately full for a 5% abv beer thanks to the malt sweetness and it is really well balanced throughout the sip by the hops.  The carbonation is mild to moderate and the lasting one finger head lends some creaminess to the drink as well.  Slight dry finish makes you crave more!

Overall this is probably my favorite IPA.  I'm not a hop head so this fits the bill perfectly for me!  I also feel that this is a world class beer and am now a strong fan of Samuel Smith Old Brewery which is now on my bucket list of breweries to tour!

You have to try this beer!  Well, because life is too short, you know!


Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 55, Ommegang Three Philosophers

This Quadruple Belgian beer is like a Belgian Dubble, but basically it's a double dubble!  Where in a dubble twice the amount of malts are used to make a really strong ale, in this four times the amount are used so it's going to be sweet, but balanced and you are going to notice the 10% alcohol, but not overtly.

This beer is actually 98% Quadruple and 2% Kriek (a Kriek is a beer where after vigorous fermentation has started, a butt load of cherries are added to the fermenting beer) so this beer is going to take on a cherry character.
This beer is beautiful and I am going to call it world class!

The beer pored from a  12 oz. bottle dated 2012 and at 55 degrees into a tulip glass was mahogany in color and very clear with a beautiful 2 finger head of tiny bubbles that lasts throughout the drink as a full creamy tan cap with a sticky full and cascading lacing that after a very long wait breaks up into a cracked desert pattern.  One of the best I have ever seen.

At first the aromas are of caramel like malt sweetness with perhaps that notable Belgian yeast aroma and a little bit of cherry.  Half way through the drink as the beer heats up strong alcohol notes float cherry up to your nose and almost commandeer the malt aroma.

Tasting this beer is orgasmic!  You are going to get very nice smooth caramel malts in perfect union (Belgian motto: Strength in Union) with cherry and other dark fruit flavours along with that Belgian yeast taste.  Alcohol is in the mix as well, but not crazy hot like you would think with a 10% ABV beer.  As the beer warms up, the flavors all become distinct, but still even keeled.  Barely any dry hop finish, but it is there and it is just only noticeable making me believe that this is an incredibly balanced beer.

Full creamy sweet mouthfeel  with just above moderate carbonation that kind of effervesces the alcohol notes and fruits to your nose as you sip.  There is a slight warming feeling as you down your sip.  

This beer comes alive as it gets warmer!  It's really interesting and entertaining (10% abv) to drink.  I have a strong feeling that Ommegang is becoming one of my favorite Belgian breweries!  I'm not sure if this beer is absolutely true to it's style, but WOW!  I have to give it high 4's!

I'm going to go ahead and give this beer a 4.5 overall.  Once I get to know this style better, I may be a better judge, it may go up, it may go down.  I don't know, but I am sure to always seek this beer out!

Don't drink crappy beer!  Life is too short!


Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 54, Bell's Porter

First impressions: WOW!  Smoooooooooth.  A very good porter!

This beer is in the class of American Porters.  American porters are pretty much the same as the English counterparts with a little innovation to mask or work with the burnt flavours of the dark roasted malts.  Some may add chocolate or coffee to do this as well as other adjuncts.  On average these are a balanced beer and not too hoppy, but creativity is OK with this style.  These can be session beers drank one after the other.

Bell's is definitely a session porter!

I just read a review by AmitC that was spot on.  He rated the beer at 4 out of 5 on a beer that was only 6 weeks old.  I don't know how I did it, but my beer was produced well over a year ago and my review is identical to his except that mine has more complexity than his with notes of vanilla and a milky creaminess.

The beer is contained in a crimp top bottle and gets points for homebrew friendliness!

It pours an opaque brown black and is very clear with a thing but creamy tan/brown head that fades to a nice ring and Friar Tuck kind of center cap with exceptional polka dot lacing pattern.  Really nice.

The aroma is of roasted malts, vanilla, and mellow yeast.  Pretty straight forward.  This beer has been aged for a year and smells really smooth.

The taste is just as smooth as the aroma.  Chocolate malts are foremost apparent with caramel and milk chocolate leading to vanilla cream midway through the sip.  The sip finishes mildly dry with burnt malt and mild hops.  It's pretty balanced!

The mouthfeel is moderate and just right.  The carbonation is light to moderate and lends a nice creamy feel to the drink until the dry finish that lets you wanting more.  Perfect for a session porter!

I'm going to give this beer a 4.25 out of 5 (switching to the more accepted scale tonight) as this is going to be one of my new personal favorites and I think this beer is approaching a world class status.  I am very happy with this beer and would recommend it to even a novice beer drinker afraid to move on to dark beers as it is THAT pleasant.

Cheers!  Remember, life is too short to be drinking that crappy beer!


Friday, February 22, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 53, Sly Fox Odyssey Imperial IPA

Wow!  Floral hop aroma!  It's really a beautiful smell!  And look at that clarity!

Put on your bitter tongue and pack away the malt one and get ready for this wallop!  As IPA's go it's to be expected that it will be hoppy especially because it is considered an Imperial IPA or a Double IPA which is righteously doubled in ingredients and high in alcohol (double the malts too).  According to the can new hops grown every year are used in this brew so each one is different.

This beer is in a can, and well, I have my reasons for liking and not liking cans, but I can't use them for homebrewing so no points there!  Plus, it's a beer that I wouldn't take camping or to a concert in the summer basically because it's a one at a time kind of beer and not a session beer.

The beer pours from a 50 degree can a beautifully clear and pure amber color with a huge 3 finger yellow/white head consisting of multiple sized bubbles that quickly fades to a ring and cap covering the top of the beer.  It has lacing that is both nice and sticks to the glass and looks a little sloppy.

I found the aroma to be both equally malty and florally hoppy with notes of bread.  I think it's a pretty well balanced aroma.  Lovely and aromatic hops.  Beautiful.

As for flavour, I'm finding the bready caramel malt base and the floral hops fairly balanced at the beginning of the sip.  Well, maybe more hoppy than malty, but the hops become massively apparent towards the end leaving you bitter and dry.  I do believe that along with the hops and carbonation that a slight alcohol burn is released.  It's not overly noticeable which is a good accomplishment for an 8.4 ABV beer.

I also find the mouthfeel beneathe the hops to be rather smooth and creamy with moderate carbonation that gives way to a hoppy dry aftertaste that is fairly strong.

The beer is too hoppy for me.  I like it, but I would only have one hoping that my next beer would erase the aftertaste.  I'm not overly familiar with the style and please take my score with a grain of salt.  I found it pretty balanced for being so hoppy except for the finish.  I don't know how it fits into this category, but having had Dogfish Head 90 minute recently and comparing the two, I would have to give DFH higher points.

Hooper scale from 1 to 10 it gets a 7.5.  I would buy this beer again as a starter or with food as I feel this may go really well with a lemon pepper catfish dish or the like.  Lots of potential with a food pairing.

Give it a try, you may find that you like it.  It can't hurt and anything is better than drinking crappy beer, because life is too short for that.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 52, Yards Ales of the Revolution, Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce

Alright!  52!  One of my jersey numbers from my youth!  It's good to link up my past in Philly with this excellent brew from Philly!

Look at that color!

This beer is in the category Herbed/Spiced Ale and it is a pretty broad category including pumpkin beers and the like.  This recipe comes to us courtesy of Benjamin Franklin actually as it is one of his originals.  Yards brewery has 4 beers in their Ales of the Revolution collection I believe and this is one of them.  I suggest trying them all, they are really interesting.

This beer pours a deep amber to mahogany red colour with a thin rosy/tan head that fades to a tiny ring around the glass and leaves some nice mobile lacing on the glass.  Very clear and attractive.

I poured this from a bottle at 50 degrees into a tulip glass and was immediately hit with molasses and malt sweetness.  There is some slight aromatics of evergreen in there, spruce to be exact, but I couldn't really decipher it to tell the truth.  I also read from another review about a tea aroma, I get that a little as well.

Throughout the sip is the base of caramel malt sweetness.  I think it starts off that way and then mid way through a tea-like herbal taste sets in and smooths out some of the carbonation and then leads finish that is maybe a little bready, peppery and slightly hoppy.  It's balanced a little better than you would believe by the aroma.

I think the mouthfeel is a little lighter than medium.  Almost slightly watery, yet sweet.  The carbonation starts off just above moderate and fades nicely ending well balanced and slightly dry.

Overall I think this is an excellent beer and only a tiny bit watery (like tea).  It's hard to judge a beer of this category and that is the only thing that I think is wrong with the beer, if it is wrong at all.

I give this beer a high 8 out of 10 and hope that you get to try this one and judge for yourself because life is too short to drink crappy beer!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 51, Old Forge Celestial Blonde Ale

"Stay away from the cans!  This guy hates cans!"  
The only reason that I hate cans is that I can't reuse them and some have awful (mind fizzle.  is that really how you spell awful? my brain now hurts) graphics, this one is good.  Proceed.  Cans are good for concerts!  They don't allow bottles so these are concert friendly.  Cheers!  Summer beer too.  Score!

Sometimes lager like is the Beer Advocate description of this American Ale,  a newly created style similar to Kolsch as well.  The main difference is that it's an ale yeast and not lager and taste wise it is sweeter.  In this case, celestial sweet.

There weren't many reviews on this beer and some seemed a bit outlandish.  I'm going to go ahead and say that this beer poured a very clear golden straw color with a pure white head that quickly dissipated to a nice ring and very little on top and nice delicate lacing that seems to last through the beer.

I got an aroma profile like a belgian beer with a slight banana like yeast mixed with sweet malts and maybe a little biscuit type nose.  You might be able to pick out pears or mild apple if you are looking for it.  Pears maybe.  Apple, I don't find them.  Overall it's sweet.  Nothing in the way of hops.

The beer tastes just like the aroma.  The sip starts off carbonated and malty and then mid way through it really smooths out making room for sweet malt, banana and pear to be followed by a little bit of a grassy texture maybe?  Someone described it as astringent.  I don't know if I would go that far, but it borders there with mild hop.  There is a definite hop character, but it takes a while to come out and I am guessing that it does it's fair share of balancing this beer as the finish is slightly dry and bitter.

I think the mouthfeel is working its way towards creamy, sweet and medium.  Well balanced.  The carbonation is slightly higher than mid-range giving it a very mellow champagne likeness.  It finishes mildly dry and is really well balanced.

Overall, I think this beer fits the description of American Ale except that it may be a little bit sweeter than the average.

I give it an 8 out of 10.  It's not a world class beer, but it is VERY good and will go great in the with concerts, fishing and camping!  Surfing, not so much.  No drinking and surfing!  Takes away from it.

I hope that you get to go out and try this beer and see what you think!  It's a keeper!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 50, Lancaster Brewing Winter Warmer

I could not shake this cold feeling all day!  I basically work in a refrigerator all day and have been cold to the core today.  I need a winter warmer!

This beer is actually classified as an old ale.  Old ales are fairly malty sweet because all the sugars aren't all the way fermented out for one reason or another.  Then they were left to mature in vats for a long time.  They really have dark and sweet characteristics like malts, of course, and perhaps such fruits notes as raisin or black currant.  They are of high alcohol content and it's flavour is commonly apparent.  

Thank you Lancaster for using crimp top bottles!  Nice!  Also, thanks for donating a portion of the profits to the PA wolf sanctuary.  These folks need all the help they can get.  You wouldn't think there was a need here in PA, but there is.

The beer poured a beautifully clear red mohagany with a fine tan head that is slightly clingy and has some attractive lacing for how thin it is.  It dissipates and stays a nice thin ring around the glass with a small Friar Tuck cap in the center.

I opened this bottle at 45 degrees.  I instantly from the bottle smelled alcohol.  It is to be expected. The most noticeable aroma was of the malts and slight yeast.  As the beer warms up some others join the party like figs and maybe banana.  The alcohol is mildly noticeable in the aroma and if there are any hops they are barely noticeable.

Sweet malts carry you throughout the sip and along the way you will get some roasted malt flavours, a bit of figs, maybe some cherry, you will definitely taste caramel nearing the end as well as a nice hazelnut type flavour.  At the very end of the drink there is only the mildest of hop character, just enough to make you thirsty for another sip!  I do taste alcohol on my breath after the sip is over.  It's not unappealing, just noticeable.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly medium.  It's sweet and smooth, but not as heavy as I would think.  The carbonation is light, thankfully.  And the beer eventually finishes a little dry and peppery with faint hops.  It's pretty much overly sweet and not balanced well, but that is a description of the style now isn't it?

7 out of 10

I like this beer and would drink it again, especially off of tap to see if there is a difference.  Something about the flavour doesn't really attract me.  I almost taste bubblegum in a way and that has never been a favourite of mine.  I don't mean to be harsh on the score.  I don't know much about this style or how this beer is particularly brewed, but I gotta be true to my taste senses.  

Try it, see what you think!  Let me know as discourse is desirable!  And remember, life is too short to drink crappy beer!


Monday, February 18, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 49, Ommegang Abbey Ale

And yet another world class beer to add to my list.  Perhaps this is the best way to educate myself on beer by drinking in all the classics first, just like in literature, but this is in no way as torturous as reading the classics.  Literature.  Torture.  Similar suffixes?  No "tures" affiliated with beer except expenditure and that is bad.  

Anyway, this is one class that I hope to never miss!

Check out the color of this beer:
This beer tastes as beautiful as it looks and smells.  This may just may be my favorite beer so far out of all the beers in all the styles.  I can't even wait to tell you that it is going to score well over 11 as to outdo Spinal Tap.  Is this a collaboration with Duvel?  It mentions something like that on the side of the bottle.

{{ Ace of Spades, Motorhead on XPN, wholly f@ck! one of the best songs ever! }}

See that, mention Spinal Tap analogous with a rockin' beer and Motorhead comes on the radio.  All is right with the world.  Although a Trappist monk might not agree.  Friar Lemmy!

A'ight this beer gets the points for the homebrew love with the crimp top bottle.  Cheers!

This beer pours an amber/burgundy with a beautiful thick orange head of tiny bubbles that are creamy and frothy throughout the drink leaving a very lasting Roman pillar kind of lacing on the glass.

I poured mine at about 50 to 55 degrees and instantly the aroma of crystal malts and sugar candy hit my nose with a bit of that fruity belgian yeast twang.  Some alcohol is slightly playful on your nose hairs as well.  Well, I don't know if you have nose hair, but it plays on mine!  It kind of tickles the base of my brain like when you get that special brain tickler booger that just keeps on coming because of some stringy connection to the brains meninges.  Yeah, don't hide it, you know what I am talking about.  Cool, isn't it?  Ha ha ha you gross fukkers!  I went there and you now know what I mean when I say this beers' aroma is brain tickling!  Awesome.  So glad to bring you all down a notch and start enjoying life.

If you don't taste this beer before you die, you better seek religion as you missed out on your calling and will not be fulfilled.  

{{ Music interjection again.  I'm really glad for WXPN and shows like High's in the 70's and so many others that bring back music that you will rarely hear ever again on free radio.  I don't give them money on their fund drives because my finances are thin.  I regret it.  If you can, do your part.  These folks are working their craft just like any other artist.  Spin away XPN!  Bring Y-Rock back please! }}

Technically there are less ingredients in this beer than The VOS that they offer and you would think it to be less complex, but only slightly so.  There is a lot going on here in way of flavour.  Mostly malty of a caramel style but then you have bready citrus and banana notes as well as a hint of copper (the actual metal).  To be honest the metallic flavor of Belgians used to put me off.  But no longer.  I love it.  There are notes of some dark fruits in here as well, dates maybe.  It's tough to decifer each one so I study and see if I can find them.  Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.  But as this beer gets warmer more comes out.  There is only the slightest of hop aftertones with this beer.  I think the hop character is more apparent in the aroma than in the flavour, but they are there and they balance the sweet malts and candy sugar.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy.  The head really is involved in the mouthfeel of this beer in the ways of creaminess.  Carbonation was lively at uncorking (decapping) and really brings out the micro-notes in this beer as well as the alcohol content which is noticeable, but so nice with the banana character.

Extremely well balanced beer.  I am regretting that I don't have another bottle!  Damn!

Turn it up to 11!

World Class beer here.  A definite bucket list beer!  You have to try it to see if you like it.

Have a great rest of your Presidents Day!

Question for you.  Was Lincoln a beer drinker?


Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 48, Sixpoint Diesel

Not knowing it while publishing this post, I realized that I just did a comparison of an ancient beer style with a relatively new beer style from the same brewer and both were extremely good.  In this comparison, I think I would choose the ancient.  What would you choose?

I am so very glad that this beer (Diesel) isn't as ugly as it's can and the "prose" on the back.  Please work on that!  I've seen 1980's adverts that were more attractive.  70's even.  The prose makes an environmentalist want to vomit as it paints a picture of a beautiful forest morning with the sun rising on dewy limbs that suddenly snap under the sound of diesel.  Although not condoning the act of planetary destruction and probably wanting to make it look ugly to educate on such travesties, I would hope, it wasn't something that I wanted to think about before trying this nectar for the first time.

Earlier in the day, with my close friend who has dubbed me "Hooper" (from Jaws) as my new nickname,  I had a Sixpoint Goser the Gozerian at brunch at the Grey Lodge.  See Below:
Gose (gose-uh) is an ancient beer from a region in Germany called Goslar whose aquifers are high in mineral salts making a nice medicinal mineral water.  Gose is brewed and fermented with such water and a mix of yeast, lactic bacteria (sour flavor producing), coriander, and hops.

What I remember from the drink was not sour at all.  If so, it was VERY palatable with a base of sweet candy malts and hints of fruit and spice.  Hazy and creamy with a lasting head of fine bubbles with an extremely mild hoppy finish.  Truly an exquisite beer that I would believe to be a world class beer.  I would like to review this beer for real if given the chance and I'm sure would get 10 out of 10.  I'm not sure how to judge sours though, and it may not favor points in the sour arena.

Diesel on the other hand...

Diesel is an American Stout which fall into the realm of using chocoalate or coffee adjuncts along with a variety of different hops and amounts.

The can, NOT homebrew friendly! Ugly as all get out.  It looks like a collection of terrible tattoos.  

The beer pours a clear black/brown with a one finger brown head of fine bubbles that fade to a thick ring around the glass and a Friar Tuck cap in the center with beautiful "cracked-desert" lacing that sticks to the glass rather beautifully.

It has aromas of DARRRK roasted malts, green forest, floral hops and bread.  It's damn nice. 

She starts off with caramel chocolate malty sweetness and works her way towards very dark roasted malts accompanied by the bittering hops tempered by the creamy head and light herbal notes.  It's actually very well balanced until the very end where in between sips you are eating desert sands and coughing saw dust leaving you panting "MoRe!   mORe!"

The mouthfeel is creamy yet dry especially from the middle of the sip on.  The carbonation is moderately lively giving this almost an IPA mouthfeel.  It's really cool!

I wonder what hops were used in this brew.  Does anyone know?

As Stouts go, in general,  including all versions of stouts, this would be a good stout getting a score of 8 or higher, but in the class of American Stouts, I would say the score is probably higher.  It's a bit dry for my taste and my personal opinion commonly figuring in to about 10% of my ratings I will have to give this a 9 out of 10.  This being said, If I were professionally scoring this beer my rating might be higher.  But I'm a beginner, really, still struggling with distinguishing what flavors and aromas are what.

This is truly a good beer and is very high on my rating as a 9 out of 10!

Well Done!


Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 47, Ommegang Rare Vos Amber Ale

Tonights world class beer is Ommegang Rare Vos Amber ale which to me tastes very Belgian.

This beer is in the Belgian Pale Ale class which during WWII tried to rival the pilsners.  It is brewed with sweet orange peel, coriander and grains of paradise much like my Gluten free Bleeding Gums Murphy.

After a long day on board Gazela tapping and removing deck spikes, my body is SORE and I needed a world class beer!

The glass is homebrew friendly.

It pours a hazy light amber color and the head is white and full with crop circle designs in the center that clings to the side with pillar shaped lacing.  This stays throughout the drink and has a creamy consistency that is like icing on a cake.

The aroma is a slightly yeasty and citrus mixed with caramel malts.  It reminds me of an orange pastry.

It tastes very similar to the aroma.  How odd!  :-)   Citrusy with a fruity belgian yeast with a nice amber malt backbone and those stay with you from start to finish until you finally arrive at the place where the creamy head meets a very slight black pepper and super mild hoppy dry finish.  Gorgeous.  After the finish some pepper stays with you,

Creamy mouthfeel!  Maybe a slight buttery aspect to it, and light buy playfully creamy carbonation.  

Overall, I think that if you don't like this beer, you need to be institutionalized.  Plain and simple.  World class.  Absolutely nothing wrong with this beer.  It's hazy, is that bad for this class of beer?  NO.

11 out of 10

Drink it.  If you don't like it eye will refund your money!

Don't gaze at the crop circle head too long!  You will swear it's moving!


Friday, February 15, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 46, Brasserie Duyck Jenlain Winter Ale

I'm searching for this on Beer Advocate and having a tough time finding it, I don't think it is one there.  It is considered a French Farmhouse Ale or a Saison.  This beer is described on the bottle as more simple than a saison only using malts and hops from the Alsace region of France.  To me, it tastes like a grand crux without all the extras, yet just as fruity.  It's quite good!  Take a look:
This beer is brewed in the winter by Brasserie Duyck in France.  It is intended to be drank in the summer months and it is very appealing as a beer that isn't really heavy, yet fairly high in alcohol.  I guess a good way of putting it is that it is thirst quenching!

Yes, this crimp top bottle gets homebrew points!

The beer pours an amber red with a thin head of the tiniest bubbles and stays throughout the drink as a ring and a central cap with very fine lacing.

It has the nicest citrusy caramel and malt aroma that I have yet to have encountered!  Coming from all malts and no additives, it is really interesting!

The flavour and aroma are similar!  The beer starts off with a nice amber malt character and mid way through the sip the caramel and fruity flavours come out.  There is some citrus, some pear maybe or plum and then the sip tapers off from sweet to very slightly dry with only the mildest of hop taste.  Remarkably refreshing!

I think the mouthfeel is really smooth and creamy yet moderately light.  The carbonation is just above mid range and really carries the fruit flavors well to your tongue.  It's not hoppy but does finish slightly dry.  This beer is phenomenally balanced especially for being 7% abv.  There is almost no hing of alcohol at all and what there is is not offensive at all.  I get a warming feeling from it and that is all.

Overall, this is also a world class beer.  Two in as many nights!  Two totally different genres as as well.  This beer was one of Scoats's 24 Beers of Christmas case and is such a welcome addition to my blog.  Well Done Scoats!

This beer gets an 11 as well!  I will seek this one out again and again!

Have a great weekend and those of you who have monday off, enjoy the holiday!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 45, Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout

Another fine beer!  I'm going to have to start choosing some crappy ones just so I can have a basepoint.  No, f@ck that!  Life is too short to drink crappy beer!

This is probably the foremost Oatmeal Stout in the world.  Just going out on a limb saying that.  I mean, look at this lacing!!!!!
Some good reads there as well.  Can you make out the book behind the lacing or the one that the beer is resting on?  Haha

Anyway this is going to be a Wiss Brau standard someday because of the smoothness brought about by the oats in this stout.  (If I were Canadian, that sentence would sound funny to Philadelphians)

This beer pours a rich dark brown from an awesome 550 ml crimp top bottle!  It is very clear although opaque.  The head starts out a 2 finger pour and quickly recedes to tiny bubbles and a nice full ring with one of the most beautiful lacing patters that I have seen stay on the glass without falling back into the beer.  FANTASTIC!

The aroma is of malts.  Of course.  There is some caramel, and some vanilla.  My nose is officially rendered useless at this point.  It stuffs up after a beer.  Celiacs Disease.  But I can make those out.  I'm not gonna read other reviews and lie to you.  malty malty malty

Wow!  How fecking smooth is this beer!  My first sip from the pint was a wash of malt with a very strong note of banana!  WOW.  The beer was poured at about 60 degress and was alive with aroma and flavour.  Almost at the end of the beer I no longer get the banana.  In fact, it was probably only the first two sips that had that flavour.  The beer starts off in your mouth with nice medium roasted and caramel malts.  You just cant beat those flavours.  And then some vanilla moves in half way through to take you all the way to the ever so slightly hoppy dry finish with still lingering vanilla notes.  F@CK!  

Mouthfeel.  How do you think the mouthfeel is?  Well, I tell you, you are WRONG!  It's creamier and smoother than that!  Moderate carbonation plays with the creaminess and hoppiness at the end making this beer livelier than some other flatter stouts.  The creaminess gets waylaid and the hops are effervesced on your tongue.  It really is a brilliant beer!

11  no, higher!  

Drink it!  This is a bucket list beer.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 44, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

This is a top notch Russian Imperial stout!  Russian Imperial Stouts date back to the 1800's when British brewers competed to win favour with the Russian court by brewing the darkest, maltiest and highest alcohol content ale that they could.  I think that this beer typifies that description pretty well.  I'm not sure how hoppy they were back in the day, but this one is mild.

Thumbs up for the bottle, I will totally reuse this one again!

The beer poured opaque and black like french roast coffee.  The head was a very thin brown ring around the glass and almost dissipates through the drink.  Lacing on the glass is almost non-existant.

Aromas of roasted caramel malts first hit me, then an alcohol air brings notes of cherry to my nose.  Sweet and almost sherry like.

The flavour is dramatically malty and not overdone on the roasted flavours.  It's more like caramel, dark chocolate, mild coffees and cherry with an underlying bitterness that is barely noticeable until the sip is down your throat and then it lingers well balanced with sweet cherry and mild hops.  Througout the sip there is mildly noticeable alcohol that warms as the beer finishes.

The mouthfeel is fairly thick and creamy with mellow carbonation.  If the carbonation were moderate or greater, I believe the alcohol would be much more noticeable and the beer finishes mildly to moderately dry leaving you wanting that next sip.  For being how sweet it is, it really is well balanced in all respects.

The beer is fantastic and truly is another favorite in a catagory for me.  This is by far  the most appealing Russian Imperial Stout to me.  Most I have had were extremely roasted malts and high bittering hops.  This balanced Prince of Stouts is much more my style and I will have to give it a 9 out of 10.

I take a point off for lack of a head and that is purely aesthetic and in no way effecting the flavour!

Get out and try this beer!  Life is too short to drink crappy beer!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 43, Homebrew Extravaganza!

Tonight was my homebrew club meeting and I had intended to drink a beer beforehand and blog about it, but I had to tend to my homebrew in the shop and transfer from primary fermenters to seondary and it took a bit longer than I would have wanted.

So I ran to the meeting in the cold without a jacket.

We had so many new and cool people show up that is was damn refreshing!

I had a really good stout from Dock Street.  A brewery that goes much unnoticed in my realm and I need to pay more attention to them!

I am not going to do a review for a beer this evening because it is just beyond my ability and if I did, it would not be fair to Dock Street or any of my homebrewing friends because I did not make any notes at the time.  I was just too involved.  I really apologize and hope that this does not tarnish my goal of a different beer review every night, technically it does, but as beer enthusiasts, I hope you understand.

As a good friend said to me recently:  Life is too short to drink crappy beer!

Hope you all had a great Fat Tuesday (foshnot day) and I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow night!


Monday, February 11, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 42, Founders Old Curmudgeon Ale

OMG gimme more!

This beer is classified as an Old Ale.  Old ales were typically aged in vats to mature.  I do think this is the case for this beer.  Knowing nothing about it I am totally getting a slight Bourbon aroma and flavor.  This could also be a by product of all the dark fruit and high alcohol aromas and flavours associated with this beer, but I definitely taste a bit of bourbon.  So nice!  Warming!

Score on the crimp top reusable bottle!

Look at how clear that beer poured!  DAYUM!  It was unfiltered and a good two ounces were left in the bottle, I drank them separately so that I didn't spoil this perfectly clear glass of beer.  As you can see the beer poured a gorgeous dark red that is super clear like a crisp cold Alberta clipper night.  The head is a very thin rosy tan colour with tiny bubbles and little but beautiful lacing.  The head stays at a thin ring for all of the drink.

Bourbon notes override malts, caramel and raisins.  There is also a very slight bread or yeast smell, but it's almost imperceptible to my nose.  If I hadn't read about it, it wouldn't have hit me in the face.  It's very complex if you sit with it.  I poured this at about 50 degrees and it is a great temp to enjoy this beer.  There are even some aromatic ale alcohol aromas associated with the beer, apparently.  (I went overboard with that sentence, scratch the use of 'ale')

Alcohol on the roof of my mouth shows up mid drink after a wealth of sweet flavours.  First it starts off malty sweet and moves into bourbon, raisins, etc... and rides this wave of sweet warmth all the way down to your stomach.  The alcohol is apparent, but not unappealing.  It is what it is.  This beer is almost like a cordial in sweetness.  I get only the tiniest hint of hop well after the beer has left my mouth.  If there were no hop and no carbonation it could almost be a cordial.

Mouthfeel is wicked sweet and smooth.  It could be too sweet for some, but not for me.  The carbonation is low, but nice.  If it were higher this beer would burn your tongue with alcohol I think.

I would think this beer would be world class and I only give it a 9 out of 10 because I think the bourbon character could be dialed back just a hair to let all the other complexities come out.  I had not read any reviews that mention the bourbon flavours and since this beer was bottles almost a year ago, perhaps that is a further progression of it's aging.  If so, I am a fool for giving the beer only a 9.

It's fantastic and probably one of the best beers that I have ever had!  I will most likely revisit this review and maybe seek out another bottle if I can find one and cellar it for next year.  OMG this is a good beer!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 41, Cigar City Brewing Rollin' Dirty Red Ale

This beer is classified as an Amber Ale or Red Ale.  Basically it's a term that includes many styles that are lighter in color than, say, a porter with amber to red colors.  They seem to mostly focus on the lighter toasted malts with maybe a fruity character.  Some are even ale versions of the lagered Octoberfest beers.

Another brew with a reuseable bottle.  I'm glad that I am able to take advantage of a free bottle!

I don't know much about the background of this brewery or the ingredients involved, but the beer pours a deep red mohagany the is very clear and still translucent.  Any darker and she'd be a brown I think.  The tan head is thin and nice that becomes a thin ring with the Friar Tuck center cap and has nice swiss cheese looking lacing.

The aroma is caramel malty with a fruity honey aroma that is prominent.

I can't really put my finger on the flavor in the background, but I am getting caramel maltiness mixed with honey and maybe smoke flavor mixed with black pepper spiciness at the end.  The honey and smoke flavor are kind of strange and puts me off a little bit at first, but then it grows on me.  There is very little hop that is pronounced, but at the end hops are apparent and ultimately balance the beer somewhat, but it's still sort of a sweet finish.

The mouthfeel is almost watery, light, yet sweet with a finish that goes from sweet to peppery to very slightly dry.  The carbonation is quite high and maybe too high and it seems to carry the off-smokey honey like flavors throughout the sip.

I'm not real familiar with what is going on with this beer.  I like it and want to try it again so I can compare it against other reds/ambers but I don't think that I would seek this beer out for enjoyment.  There is something in there that desn't mesh well with the honey.

To be fair, it does have some excellent characteristics in color, head and complexity, but it's a tad watery and weird.

7 out of 10 seems fair for this beer maybe generous.  Again, I'm not the most experienced so take what I say with a grain of salt and always remember to drink the beers that you like and don't worry if it's not popular!

Life is too short to drink crappy beer!

- Fish Wiss

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 40, Victory Storm King

This beer is a Russian Imperial Stout hopped with American hops that work extremely well.

Don't look too hard at that glass as I am shirtless.

F@ck yeah!  I can reuse this bottle!

The beer pours thick and black at 60 degrees.  For the first half of the glass you can see light through it and then it's opaque and clear with a nice one finger head of tiny bubbles that fade to a Friar Tuck cap with really cool tiny archway lacing that only opens up after a long wait.  Really nice.

I get a sour malty espresso-like aroma that may be due to some of the grapefruit flavors involved in this brew.  A hint of yeast.

Taste is complex.  Lots of mingling with the roasted malts in there.  Grapefruit, yeast, strong strong hop character that I'm not too hip on but its still really good.  I suppose you need lots going on to cover up the fact that it's 10% Alc by Volume.  It's balanced enough to do that.  The hops start at the same time as the espresso and continues on well after the beer is finished.

Mouthfeel is pretty full, but not overly so.  The finish is super dry and makes me feel like I just ate a box of saltines without the salt.  Fairly heavy carbonation for what I would expect, but it works.

Victory gets a 9 out of 10 for this.  I have to stop drinking such good beers OR get better at judging, but this is quite an excellent stout.  I personally won't seek it out as the hop character is way too strong for me.  I would prefer English hops with this one.  Of course.  ha ha ha

Have a great night everyone!


Friday, February 8, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 39, River-Horse Hop Hazard

"Let's get it straight.  Hop Hazard is an AMERICAN pale ale.  That means it's balanced with hops, not buried in them."

Truer words could not have been written.  This is really a good beer for someone like myself who is not a hop head.  It is very balanced and a damn good beer from up the Delaware River in Lamberville, NJ, Hessian HQ during the Revolutionary War.

The bottle is crimp top.  Thanks for looking out River Horse!

 I love people who review beer and say shit like "nothing stands out" as it is a bad thing.  Does something always have to stand out?  This is an APA, american pale ale, nothing is really supposed to stand out.  That is the style you wankers!  Plus, there is plenty of complexity in this beer as it is.  You might not notice if something stood out over the others.  I guess it's not hoppy enough for some daft fukkers.

I find this beer exceptional.  I don't know what they are using for ingredients, but most likely they are pretty local that being one of the traits of this beer and perhaps, maybe none of our local ingredients are exceptionally stand out-ish.  We certainly don't have Willamette hops here. 

The beer poured an copper slightly amber color that was a bit hazy.  The head is beautiful and tan at one finger deep and stays the entire drink of the beer with one of the most retentive lacings that I have seen that after a long period breaks up in to what reminds me of Hopi Indian caves in the SW United States.  Really different and cool!

The aroma is balanced between malty, floral and fruity evenly dissipated to the air with hints of buttered kaiser roll behind it.

The taste is amazingly balanced and smooth.  Malts, hops, raisins, citrus, and maybe a little butter pass over the tongue evenly while a slight peppery hint teases your tongue in conjunction with the carbonation.  There is a slight bitter aftertaste that draws you in for another sip.

Mouthfeel is fairly full.  Someone reviewed it as watery?  Eh?  It's creamy and slightly buttery almost.  Sort of an English take on the APA from what I have read.  After all, we were English colonies with tonnes of their influence!  Carbonation is is moderately heavy and works well with this brew.

River Horse, I don't care, you are getting a 10 out of 10 on this beer.  I find nothing lacking and nothing offensive.  The lacing of the head is probably one of the coolest that I have seen so far and you are now going to be my "go-to" hop beer.  Thank you for this piece of craftsmanship! 

Remember, as a friend told me recently, life is too short to drink crappy beer!

-Fish Wiss