Thursday, November 29, 2012

Beer Review: Who's Your Daddy? Imperial Porter

Reviewing the Who's Your Daddy? Imperial Porter from Tyranena Brewing Company out of Lake Mills, Wisconsin. This is the first time this beer has been brewed since 2006.
Score: 96

October 2012 vintage bottle served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 11/28/12.

Appearance: Pours an ink black color with a finger-plus of beige foamy head that slowly recedes to a thin layer atop the glass. Awesome lacing sticks to the side of the glass like white on rice. 5/5

Smell: Chocolate, marshmallows, and a hint of coffee. Faint caramel and a light hoppiness too. There is not very much bourbon in the nose at all. There's a sweetness in the nose that reminds me of fresh 2011 Darkness in a good way. For whatever reason, the scent of a box of theater candy "malted milk balls" also comes to mind. As it warms, and maybe this is because I am crazy, I also get a faint note of cherry in the aroma as well. More chocolate comes out in the nose as the beer warms up. 4.5/5

Taste: The nose is substantially more nuanced and subtle than the taste. Milk chocolate and fig flavor followed by a wave of bold bourbon and a light vanilla flavor. There's some dark fruit and mild caramel flavor with residual bourbon. Most of the chocolate flavor is up front, but there is definitely some lingering cocoa-like residual in the aftertaste. There is a light alcohol warmth on the palate, but this is hardly boozy at all. Quite smooth, balanced and bold, with a light leaning towards sweet. There is a faint hint of coffee and hops flavor towards back half too. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Just shy of full bodied with an incredibly silky and creamy mouthfeel. Low carbonation. Balanced, but slightly sweet from the vanilla and bourbon characters. Very light alcohol warmth on the back of the palate. No booziness whatsoever. 4.5/5

Overall: What more could you ask for in an imperial porter? It's silky smooth, easy drinking and bold in flavor! Prost!

Recommendation: Seek a bottle of this out while you can. Only 120 cases were bottled.

Pairings: Mocha meltaway chocolate truffles. 

Cost: $9.99 for a four pack.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Beer Review: Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Lord Imperial Stout (2012)

Reviewing the 2012 Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Lord Imperial Stout from Three Floyds Brewing Company out of Munster, Indiana. This is bottle number 4 out of 420. We consumed this bottle as part of a Dark Lord (and Behemoth) vertical to celebrate the then-impending, now-official marriage of my friend Scott Nicholas. Thanks again for bringing the bottle Scott, and congratulations! A picture of all the beers we opened at this tasting is below the picture of the Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Lord.
Score: 99

2012 vintage bottle served in a stemmed wine-style glass and enjoyed on 09/19/12.

Appearance: Pours an ink black color with a thin layer of beige head that settles to a ring around the glass. Poor lacing, but excellent cling and retention with what little lacing there is. 4/5

Smell: Smooth bourbon, milk chocolate, oak, dark chocolate and a surprising amount vanilla (though there is less vanilla than the Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord). Brown sugar and dark fruit too. There is the faintest hint of coffee in the nose. Huge doses of chocolate and smooth bourbon are present in the aroma. A slight roastiness and more oak comes out as the beer warms up. The aroma is bold and perfectly balanced. 5/5

Taste: Brown sugar, sweet bourbon and light vanilla. The sweetness is nowhere near the level of the base beer, which greatly lends to its drinkability. This tastes a lot like the Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord, but with less vanilla character -- shocking, right? The Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord seemed sweeter than this variant as well, though I would not characterize either variant as remotely being "too sweet." Molasses and raisin flavor too. No coffee. Like the nose, the flavor is bold and balanced. There is a light alcohol warming effect on the palate in the finish, as might be expected from a 15% ABV beer, but this beer is far from boozy. To the contrary, it is smooth and easy to drink. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Viscous and full-bodied with minimal carbonation. The beer is sweet, slightly sticky and creamy on the palate. 5/5

Overall: This beer's only real flaw is it's cost. As with all barrel aged Dark Lord variants, this beer cost $50 retail and was only obtainable at retail pricing by having a winning scratch off lotto ticket that each person got after buying a ticket to Dark Lord Day (and even then, you had to claim one of the four variants before they ran out). Those who struck out on the Dark Lord Day lotto would have to pay an even higher premium via trade or otherwise, as this beer sold for $300+ on eBay before eBay halted alcohol sales earlier this year. This beer is substantially less sweet than the base beer, but it's still a sweet (just not "overly sweet") brew.

Recommendation: This is one of those few highly hyped, hard-to-get, extra-premium priced beers that absolutely delivers, but there are plenty of comparable beers out there that cost half as much (or less). This is one to seek out and try for the purpose of ticking, but I recommend trying to acquire one with a group of friends to share to ease the cost.

Pairings: Drink this decadent beer as it's own digestif. It's heavy enough to suffice.

Cost: $50 for a 750 ml bottle.

As an aside, I mentioned that we also drank a vertical of the base beer (2006 through 2012). My favorite vintages, in order, were:
  1. 2011 (has smoothed out nicely, and is surprisingly coffee-forward over one year later).
  2. 2008 (perfect balance of the flavors, thick and viscous without being too sweet)
  3. 2009 (reminded me of a dryly sweet red wine in its profile, mouthfeel and complexity).
  4. 2010 (surprisingly hoppy still).
  5. 2006 (oxidized upfront, but pure, smooth fudge flavor in the finish).
  6. 2012 (no green apple, but almost cloyingly sweet and still rough around the edges -- too fresh. I have previously been told that Dark Lord is not meant to be opened before Thanksgiving and is bottled "green.").
  7. 2007 (way over the hill, totally oxidized, and very sludgey look).

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Beer Review: Three Hour Tour

Reviewing the coveted Three Hour Tour from the infamous Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery. This coconut milk stout is released once a year, and is rated as one of the top milk stouts in the world. 
Score: 94

"Pre-filled" growler from 10/27/12 (Darkness Day) kept in a fridge at 30 degrees to hold over for FOBAB-eve. Served Tyranena snifter and enjoyed on 11/16/12.

Appearance: Pours a black coffee color that's largely opaque with only a paper thin stripe of caramel brown highlight layering atop the top of the glass when held up to light. Poured a half-finger layer of dark tan, almost brownish head that settles to a ring around the glass. Really good lacing, average retention, some cling. 4.5/5

Smell: A huge wave of coconut hits you upfront. Then creamy milk chocolate, sweet milky lactose that reminds me of dulche de leche, light vanilla and a faint amount of coffee towards the end. There's something else really distinctive about the aroma that I cannot put my finger on at first, at until I glanced at prior reviews on Beer Advocate to try and figure out what it was. It's suntan lotion! Like a coconut butter suntan lotion. Not in a bad way at all. Very pleasant, in fact. Basically, this smells like a Mounds bar with a slight coffee and suntan lotion twist. Incredibly unique, incredibly appealing. 5/5

Taste: More milk chocolate and vanilla, but less coconut, on the palate than in the nose. Still very balanced, with an excellent medley of flavor. Upfront is a milk chocolate "brown ale" like flavor, though the "brown ale"-like flavors are pretty subtle and complementary. Hint of hazelnut, sweet caramel, a little coffee and a touch of toffee. Then smooth, milky coconut flavor coats the midpalate with a light vanilla creamer twist. Finishes with a coffee and coconut flavor with a faint touch of hoppiness towards the finish. The nose was better, but the taste is still delicious. I have frankly never had a beer like this before. It's like a milk stout/brown ale hybrid with coconut added. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied, low carbonation. In terms of viscosity, this is frankly waterier and substantially less creamy than hoped for or expected. The mouthfeel and viscosity reminds me a lot of Stone's vanilla porter. As it warms up and layers, the beer seemingly gets a little "thicker," but still does not come close to the level of viscosity this beer should otherwise demand. Finishes moderately dry, slightly sweet. 3/5

Overall: An amazing beer that is slightly marred by what I believe to be too thin a mouthfeel for it's bold and innovative flavors. This growler held up surprisingly well; my pour was just as good as the sample I had at the brewpub following Darkness Day. This is a beer that was well worth seeking out.

Recommendation: Hunt this one down if you get the chance. This is a limited tap-only beer that is sold in limited quantities of "pre-filled" growlers once a year, so you'll likely have to wait until late 2013 to get a shot at this one if you live outside Minneapolis.

Pairings: Mounds bars. Seriously.

Cost: $18 for a 64 oz growler.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Birthday SaBEERmetrics!

It's been one year ago today since this site went live. Many a great beer have been shared with many great friends over the past 12 months. I raise my snifter to the next 12. Cheers!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Beer Review: Brown Shugga'

Reviewing the Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company out of California. This is one of Lagunitas' better regarded beers.
Score: 92

Bottle stamp code is 26365315, meaning it was bottled on or around 09/20/12. Served in a Minneapolis Town Hall Belgian-style tulip and enjoyed on 11/09/12.

Appearance: Pours a nice copper color with three fingers of foamy beige head that takes forever to settle.  Leaves a thick lacing on the side of the glass as it recedes. Amazing lacing, unreal retention. 5/5

Smell: Caramel malt, grapefruit, grassy hops and molasses/brown sugar. Reminds me of six-month old Three Floyd's Behemoth with some brown sugar added. Citrusy pine as well. Faint alcohol esters tingle the nose towards the back end of a whiff. Bold and balanced. 4.5/5

Taste: Not quite as smooth or balanced as the nose led on. The alcohol is much more present than it was in the nose, and the flavor is much more malt-forward that the nose led on. Lemony caramel malt and a touch of earthy, slightly spicy hops that remind me a little bit of hop profile of Oskar Blues' Deviant Dales. The hoppy bitterness lingers on the middle of the tongue in the finish. There is some brown sugar on the mid-palate, but to a lesser degree than was present in the nose. The alcohol tingles the palate slightly. I am not quite sure I would call this one "boozy," but it is apparent this beer is not of a low ABV (it is 10%). As the beer layers, the IPA-like qualities of tend to wash over the palate more and give it a more consistent citrusy bitterness throughout. Though the above taste description may sound like I did not enjoy this beer, that could not be less the case. I found this brew quite tasty. The disappointment comes from an aroma that built me up for a flavor that the beer did not deliver. Nonetheless, this is a really solid brew. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Just shy of full bodied with below average carbonation. Oily, but dense on the palate. The beer's viscosity and low carbonation allow it's bitterness to sit and layer on the tongue. 4/5

Overall: Labels are overrated, but I was shocked to find out that this one was a strong ale. I thought it was an IPA and would have guessed American barleywine in a blind tasting. The nose is excellent, and the appearance is great, while the taste is merely "good." I would certainly drink this one again -- especially at the price.

Recommendation: Seek a bottle of this out, particularly if you like IPA or American-style barleywines. Casual beer drinkers may be put off by the bitterness.

Pairings: Glazed ham.

Cost: $9.99 for a six pack.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Beer Review: This One Goes To 11 Ale

Reviewing the This One Goes To 11 Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.This beer was brewed in honor of Bell's 11,000th batch of beer. It is technically not a part of their now-retired Batch X,000 series.
Score: 90

"Packaged 09/13/12." Served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 10/22/12.

Appearance: Pours a gorgeous amber color that reminds me of the mosquito-containing fossils of Jurassic Park. One-plus fingers of tan head off the pour settles to a thin layer. Good lacing and retention. 4/5

Smell: Lots of bready malt, caramel, slightly stale resinous hops, earthy spice and grapefruit. 4/5

Taste:Lots of bready malt and earthy, dank hops upfront. Light onion on midpalate mixed with a "dirty" citrus hoppiness. Tastes a lot like it smells, but with more hoppiness present. Virtually no alcohol flavor whatsoever, which is surprising given it is 11% ABV. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, light carbonation. Oily mouthfeel with a slightly sticky and bitter finish. 4/5

Overall: A really solid and tasty hoppy red ale with zero trace of its ABV. It's a shame that Bells took over a month to distribute this beer to Green Bay because I have a feeling this one may have been something special fresh.

Recommendation: Worth buying, but consume this one sooner than later -- the hoppiness is already noticeably falling off. Casual beer drinkers will probably not enjoy this one.

Pairings: Spicy chicken fajitas.

Cost: $18.99 for a six pack.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Beer Review: Thumbprint Cherry Stout

Reviewing the Cherry Stout from the Thumbprint series produced by New Glarus Brewing Company.
Score: 80

Bottle is from the late winter of 2012 -- I want to say February 2012, but do not know for certain off the top of my head. Served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 09/19/12.

Appearance: Pours a translucent reddish brown color with a half to full finger of off-white head that settles to a bubbly ring around the glass. Lots of ruby highlights in the center when held up to light. Decent lacing. 3.5/5

Smell: Cherry Robitussin, cherry-flavored lozenges, and hot cocoa mix. 3.5/5

Taste: Tastes like an acidic, chocolatey stout that was featured on an episode of Will It Blend with a bag of cherry lozenges. Light caramel flavor too. Finishes with a fizzy, Belgian Red-esque and cocoa flavor. Finish is above average tasting, but the upfront flavor of this beer is an absolutely muddled mess. 2.5/5

Mouthfeel: Light-plus bodied, medium-high carbonation. Fizzy on the tongue. Horrible mouthfeel for a stout, but OK mouthfeel for the Belgian Red-like finish. 3/5

Overall: A great example of why I generally avoid "cherry stouts." New Glarus has a lot of really good beers in their unplugged/thumbprint series -- this is not one of them.

Recommendation: Skip this beer.

Pairings: The common cold.

Cost: $9.99 for a four pack.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Beer Review: Madame Rose (2012, fresh)

Reviewing a fresh bottle of Madame Rose from Goose Island Brewing Company.
Score: 91

Shared a 22 oz bomber dated 7/31/12 with Ilana "B is for Bananas" Feldman. Served in a silver goose chalice on 10/19/12.

Appearance: Pours a thin fizzy tan head that quickly bubbles away and totally settles. The color of the beer is brown with a reddish hue -- almost a darker chest nut brown. Minimal lacing, mediocre retention. 3.5/5

Smell: Slightly tart cherry, oak, sweet red grape and a hint of brown sugar. Smells like a less intense, less complex Enigma fresh, though I have had this one aged and it gains a lot of complexities over time. 4/5

Taste: Tart cherry, oak, sweet grape and a very light brown sugar and caramel character towards the finish. Most of the tart cherry flavor is on the center of the tongue, though some rolls down the sides as well. Only a very faint, mild pucker is present. Likely because it is so young, there is a greater amount of "stock" brown ale flavor present compared to the aged versions that I have had (I have never had this beer fresh before). There is some earthy walnut flavor too. No funkiness. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel: On the lighter side of medium bodied with a fizzy level of medium-high carbonation. The fizziness really pops the tartness on the tongue. Sweet-and-tart, dry-ish finish. 4/5

Overall: Delicious fresh, but this one gets better with age.

Recommendation: Seek a bottle out and age it. This one does not really get "funky" over time. Even the 2010 bottle I had recently that was stored in an attic for two years was delicious and not funky.

Pairings: Raspberry-walnut salad with earthy cheeses and peanuts.

Cost: $20 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Beer Review: Beatification (batch 5)

Reviewing Beatification from the Russian River Brewing Company. A big thanks to Matt for hooking me up with this one!
Score: 98

Batch 5. Bottled on 01/10/12, served in a Hill Farmstead stemmed snifter and enjoyed on 010/19/12.

Appearance: Pours a nice mimosa-orange color that is on the opaque side of transparent with a half finger of fizzy white head that settles to a pencil thin ring around the glass that ultimately settles completely. Okay lacing, but not a whole lot of retention. 4/5

Smell: Very tart lemon juice hits upfront. Then there is a nice medley of sweet cole slaw vinegar, white grapes, oranges, granny-smith apples, sour peaches, "lacto-ey yogurt and brett" and a hint of oak. There is a very faint band-aid funkiness, but it's quite subtle. 4.75/5

Taste: Whoa! Tons of pucker-inducing tart lemon juice upfront, with more funkiness on the back half than the nose nose led on -- but it's really well incorporated into a sweet citrusy mix of flavors so it never overwhelms and merely complements the flavors of the beer. Tart white grapes, tangerines and sweet vinegar on the midpalate, with granny-smith apples towards the finish. "Lacto-ey yogurt," lemon and a hint of banana round off the finish and linger well past the swallow. Very gueuze-esque in flavor. Different than, but just as good as, Consecration in my opinion. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation that really accents the zesty tartness of the beer on the center of the tongue. Dry finish, but juicy on the palate. Has a decent amount of pucker. 5/5

Overall: Another outstanding, world class sour from Russian River. This one lives up to its hype, but for its difficulty to acquire, I probably prefer an in-season Consecration.

Recommendation: Seek this one out -- it is truly world class.

Pairings: Monterrey jack cheese wedges and sociables.

Cost: $15 for a 375ml bottle.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Beer Review: Solstice D'ete

Reviewing the Solstice D'ete from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel out of Montreal in Canada.
Score: 93

Bottled in August of 2012. Served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 10/16/12.

Appearance: Pours a pink Rose color with a thin bubbly ring around the glass that totally settles. Some oily legs, but minimal lacing and retention. The color of this beer is absolutely gorgeous! 4.5/5

Smell: Sweet and slightly tart "freeze-dried strawberries" (more specifically, this stuff), fresh and slightly floral puréed raspberries, and a light amount of lemon too. Very inviting! 4.25/5

Taste: More tart than the nose. Absent is most of the strawberry from the nose, but in its place is a greater presence of tart raspberries and freshly squeezed lemon. The flavor towards the finish reminds me of a less sour raspberry warhead candy. Mild pucker at first that grows slightly as the beer warms. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, medium carbonation with tons of tart citrus zest on the tongue. Sweet and sour. 4.5/5

Overall: A delicious Berliner weiss that reminds me of a sweeter, less tart framboise.

Recommendation: Seek this one out; it's quite excellent.

Pairings: Pretzels.

Cost: $5 for a 12 oz bottle.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Beer Review: 6e Soir

Reviewing the 6e Soir from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel out of Montreal in Canada.
Score: 87

Bottled in August of 2012. Served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 10/16/12.

Appearance: Pours a translucent golden color with a finger of white head that quickly settles to a bubbly ring around the glass. Oily lacing with splotchy froth. Poor lacing and okay retention. 3/5

Smell: Biscuits, subdued tropical citrus, malted barley, and a hoppiness that directly reminds me of Samuel Adams' Noble Pils. There is also a light "mustiness" in the nose akin to what a glass of what you leave out overnight smells like the following morning. There is also a faint "Corn Pops cereal" smell too. 3/5

Taste: The nose gave me low exceptions, but the taste is actually pretty good! Corn Pops, mango, mellow tropical citrus and a very mild, clean hoppiness that layers and grows as the beer warms. The amount of tropical citrus flavor in the beer also grows as it warms up, with notes of orange, grapefruit and tangerine coming out. As the beer warms, the amount of Corn Pops flavor present drops off and this beer's flavor profile approaches that of an IPA. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Oily mouthfeel, lightly sticky. Bitter, but not IPA bitter. Lightly dry finish. 4/5

Overall: An IPA-esque pilsner that delivers where it counts -- the taste and mouthfeel.

Recommendation: Delicious and worth drinking, but not worth specifically hunting down. This would make a great gateway beer to IPA's for casual beer drinkers in my opinion.

Pairings: Horseradish crusted Djion chicken.

Cost: $5 for a 12 oz bottle.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Beer Review: Solstice D'hiver

Reviewing the Solstice D'hiver from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel out of Montreal in Canada.
Score: 83

Unknown vintage bottle with the 1 and 0 ticked on the side of the label. Served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 10/16/12.

Appearance: Pours two fingers of beige foamy head that slowly recedes to a thick layer atop the glass. Crazy lacing and retention. The beer is a deep mahogany color with a blood-red halo around the glass. Not quite opaque. 4.5/5

Smell: Vanilla, toffee and malty caramel. Faint, musty hops. Light plum, raisin and pine. Yum! 4/5

Taste: Sadly, the taste does not live up to the inviting appeal of the nose. Malty caramel, faint dark fruit and ample stale hops. There is a hint of vanilla upfront, but it is very very faint. There is a slight nuttiness too. 3/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, medium-light carbonation. Super malty, slightly creamy. 3.5/5

Overall: Taste is a mediocre, unincorporated mess of flavors and stale hops, but the aroma was nice.  

Recommendation: Definitely not worth the price tag.

Pairings: Spicy Pad Thai.

Cost: $5 for a 12 oz bottle.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Beer Review: Aphrodite (aka Aphrodisiaque)

Reviewing the Aphrodite (aka Aphrodisiaque) from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel out of Montreal in Canada. DDC is probably best known for their imperial coffee stout Peche Mortel.
Score: 91

Unknown vintage bottle with the 2 and 7 ticked on the side of the label. Served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 10/16/12.

Appearance: Pours a coffee color with a thin layer of tan head that settles to a ring around the glass. Average lacing, but good retention. 4/5

Smell: Roasted chocolate, faint coffee and toasted oatmeal. Mild amounts of non-sweet molasses too. Hint of fig and caramel. 4.25/5

Taste: Primarily oatmeal and bittersweet bakers chocolate. Mild coffee flavor and some creamy milk chocolate too. Somewhat simple and uncomplex, but tasty. 4/5

Mouthfeel: A little over-carbonated, but not enough so to kill the beer. Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel. 3.5/5

Overall: A delicious oatmeal stout that had too much carbonation and is overpriced. That said, I'd absolutely drink this one again.

Recommendation: Worth drinking, but not worth specifically seeking out. Really drinkable and flavorful for 6.5% ABV.

Pairings: Flank steak.

Cost: $5 for a 12 oz bottle.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Beer Review: Jai Alai IPA

Reviewing the Jai Alai IPA from Cigar City Brewing out of Tampa, Florida. 
Score: 84

Bottle is from the 238th day of 2012 (08/26/12), won in a fantasy baseball BIF. Served in a Founders tulip glass and enjoyed on 10/15/12.

Appearance: Pours a dark copper color with a light flurry of finely ground floaties at the bottom. Three full fingers of foamy tan head at pour settles to a thick ring around the glass and big clumpy island of head in the middle surrounded by a moat of beer. Good lacing, retention and legs. 3.5/5

Smell: Tons of grapefruit and orange upfront. On the "back end" of the aroma is a slightly syrupy pineapple juice aroma -- you know, the cheap kind you make those store-bought frozen "just add juice" Jamba Juice smoothies with? That smell. Sweet caramel and pine too. The nose is surprisingly "syrupy sweet" for an IPA. 3.5/5

Taste: Tons of bitter caramel and pineapple flavor present here. The pineapple flavor tastes just like it smells and lingers after the swallow. There's a touch of orange too, but it's mostly caramel and pineapple flavor here -- though it's not what I would call a "malty" beer. There is a nice and smooth bittersweet balance that lends this beer a lot of drinkability. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied, low carbonation. Very oily and juicy. Bittersweet. 3.5/5

Overall: Solid, but nothing spectacular. I imagine this one is better fresher. Oh well.

Recommendation: I'd order it on tap, but I would not seek it out again. Would make a good starter IPA for more casual beer drinkers given it's balanced flavors, not in-your-face hoppiness and smooth drinkability.

Pairings: Pretzels and cheese dip.

Cost: $12 for a six pack.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Beer Review: Rye'da Tiger

Reviewing Rye'da Tiger from Three Floyds Brewing Company out of Munster, Indiana. HUGE thanks to Will "my name is fake" Wilberg for hooking me up with the bottle!
Score: 98

Bottle is from mid-September 2012. Served in a Founders snifter and enjoyed on 10/04/12.

Appearance: Pours a bright honey-orange color with a lot of color depth when held up to the light due its transparent quality. Can be a straight honey or orange color depending on the angle. Quite interesting! A finger of cream-colored seafoam head at pour settles to a ring around the glass. Excellent lacing and retention. I really dig the frothy head that clings to the side of the glass after every sip. What a beautiful IPA! On the second pour, there were some floaties in the glass that made this one a little less beautiful....still an excellent looking IPA though! 4.5/5

Smell: In-your-face doses of slightly candied peaches and tangerines upfront. Pineapple, orange peels, rye spice, pine, and lemon candy overlay a faint caramel malt backbone. This beer is just loaded with sweet tropical fruit juice aromas and a nice and clean, piney-hoppy counterbalance to the sweetness in the nose. Wow. Simply wow. I was not expecting something so balanced and robust! 4.75/5

Taste: Hoppy oranges, tangerines and peaches up front. This is pure tropical fruit IPA juice. There is also a nice and subtle spice kick on the front of the tongue that I presume is from the rye. The back end of the flavor of this beer is bitter, earthy hops, caramel malt and faint rye flavor. The finish is pretty bitter, but the tropical citrus sweetness really helps keep it from going to far over the edge. 4.75

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with carbonation on the heavier side of light. Super oily mouthfeel. The bitterness really layers on the tongue and makes for an interesting palate-experience when paired with the faint rye kick this beer packs. 5/5

Overall: What a world class, in-your-face IPA that is bold and unforgiving. Bitter, but dangerously smooth. The subtle rye complexity here is a real nice complement to the hoppiness. After my experience with Rye'd Da Lightning, I was not expecting something so great. Kudos to Three Floyds for creating yet another of the best hoppy beers out there!

Recommendation: Seek this out and and consume it fresh! Unless you hate IPA and hoppy beers, of course.

Pairings:Spicy, homemade beer chili (the kind that Chris Gierhart makes when you pony up to '86 the pork!).

Cost: $10 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Reviewing the Marble IPA from the Marble Brewery out of New Mexico.
Score: 91

Unknown vintage can. Served in a Founders tulip and enjoyed on 10/15/12.

Appearance: Pours a clean, slightly darker honey-orange color than the Surly Wet, and is also less transparent than Surly Wet, but not quite translucent. Two fingers of off-white head at pour settle to a thin film atop the glass. Excellent lacing and retention. This is a really beautiful looking IPA. 4.5/5

Smell: Hoppy tropical citrus! Piney grapefruit, oranges and peach. Hint of earthy caramel malt. 4.25/5

Taste: Piney grapefruit galore here with a nice lingering bitterness. Caramal malt backbone. There's some dirty/earthy citrus in the mix too. Not a whole lot of sweetness comes off of the citrus flavors, which is making this a bit of a bitter bomb. I personally dig it, but others may not. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied with a low amount of carbonation that lets the bitterness sit and layer on the tongue, though there is a little prickliness to the hoppiness here. Super oily mouthfeel. 4/5

Overall: A super solid IPA. What an excellent New Mexico year-round local. I think it is super cool that Marble's stuff, including this IPA, has appeared in the background of various Breaking Bad episodes.

Recommendation: Seek this one out if you are trading with someone local to this brew and like IPA. Might be a little bitter-intense for the casual beer drinker, however.

Pairings: Biscuits.

Cost: $9 for a six pack of 12 oz cans.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Beer Review: Surly Wet

Reviewing the Surly Wet from Surly Brewing Company out of Minnesota. According to the beer's description, "2,400 lbs of hops picked freshly in Oregon and shipped to Minnesota immediately. We brewed this beer three days later." Last year's batch (2011) was made entirely with Citra hops. This year's batch was made with Simcoe hops only. 
Score: 93

Can is from September 24, 2012. HUGE thanks to fan of the blog Mathew Schraufnagel for hooking me up with a few four packs of this wonderful nectar. Served in a Founders tulip and enjoyed on 10/15/12.

Appearance: Pours a very clean, bright and translucent honey-orange color that reminds me a lot of blind pig. Three-plus fingers of frothy cream colored head off the pour settles to a bubble ring around the glass and clump of head in the middle. Nice soapy lacing, but mediocre retention -- though what sticks around really sticks around. 4/5

Smell: Earthy, "dirty" tangerines, dank grass and pineapple. Faint caramel in the background. 4/5

Taste: Super fresh, earthy citrus and bitter, "dirty" and grassy hops! There's a nice hoppy bite upfront mellowed out by sweet tropical citrus on the back end. The hoppiness seems somewhat confined to the center of the tongue. Resinous pine sap, pineapple, and "earthy"-but-zesty orange. Sweet caramel malt backbone. The caramel mostly comes out towards the finish. Quite balanced and tasty. There's a faint "spiciness" towards the finish too. Surprisingly balanced in flavor. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel: Lighter side of medium bodied with light-medium carbonation. Super oily and slick on the palate. Towards the bitter end of bittersweet. 4.5/5

Overall: Delicious, but I have a suspicion that last year's all Citra batch was even better...I drank this side by side with Broo Doo last week and I preferred the Broo Doo.

Recommendation: Worth drinking, but not worth seeking out at its price point.

Pairings: Thai food.

Cost: $16 for a four pack of 16 oz cans.