Friday, August 21, 2015

Beer Review: Good Morning

Reviewing Good Morning from Treehouse Brewing Company out of Monson, Massachusetts.

Score: 97

Six week old growler (my bad) served in a Bourbon County snifter and enjoyed on 11/06/14 after being stored in a low-temp fridge continuously. Thank you immensely Rudzud for sending me this one!

Appearance: Pours an inky black color with a half finger of tan head that settles to a bubbly ring around the glass. Excellent lacing and lengthy retention with a high cling factor on the residuals. Gorgeous stout. 5/5

Smell: The aroma is a perfect trifecta of coffee, chocolate and maple syrup. Lovely roastiness too. This one rivals Morning Delight, through Morning Delight has a bolder chocolate character, if memory serves. While there is no mistaking this one for a kitchen cooking up fresh chocolate chip pancakes, it is still excellent. 5/5

Taste: Bold mix of coffee and maple syrup, with lots of maple flavor without much sweetness. The coffee character is stronger on the taste than it was present in the nose. There is not a big chocolate presence in the flavor. Coffee upfront with a long syrupy finish. Has a great balance between bitterness and sweetness, no booziness. I am frankly shocked by how much maple is present without this brew being sweet. 4.75/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, appropriately low level of carbonation. Lovely bittersweet balance, lasting and coating flavors. 4.75/5

Overall: This is an amazing beer. I cannot imagine how much better this is even fresher, at which point I am sure it rivals Toppling Goliath's Morning Delight even moreso. My only knock here is the muted chocolate on the taste, but that is splitting hairs since there is a lovely 1-2 punch of coffee followed by maple, with a great mouthfeel and balance to boot. Seek this one out, you will not be disappointed. This was one of the best new beers I encountered in 2014.

Cost: $12 for a 750 ml flip-top growler (+$6 for the glass).

Monday, August 17, 2015

Beer Review: DAMP-2

Reviewing DAMP-2 from MAZURT Brewing Company out of Atlanta, Georgia. This beer is a double-iced, whiskey-aged American strong ale. Thank you Wes for sharing this treat!

Score: 98

Bottle #11/13. 2014 vintage bottle served in a GLASS and enjoyed on 11/16/14.

Pours a deep brown color with with a dark to light (almost transparent) fade from the center to the edges of the glass. No head off the pour. Swirling leaves a thin, oily layer with a light brown tint to the sides of the glass. 4.75

Smell: Huge chocolate notes. Molasses, bourbon, dark fruit, toffee, sweet vanilla, caramel, and tobacco smoke. There is a Belgian malt or yeast quality that reminds me a touch of Westy 12. Hugely complex and layered. 5/5

Taste: The taste, like the nose is a chocolate bourbon! Toffee, vanilla, raisin, caramel, fudge and tobacco with a spirit bite on the finish. Lasting alcohol warmth and caramel/fudge flavor.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, virtually no carb a la Kuhnhenn. Oily, coating. Big lasting finish. A touch of spirit bite. 4.75
This brew is like a boozy, chocolate-forward Adam from the Wood minus the smokiness. Impressive, most impressive. 5/5
Cost: Unknown.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Beer Review: Present Moment

Reviewing the Present Moment, a pale ale from Tree House Brewing Company out of Monson, Massachusetts.

Score: 70

16 oz can without a date, but I know it is fresh because Rudzud sent it (thanks man!). Served in a Kate the Great snifter/tulip hybrid glass and enjoyed on 04/22/15.

Appearance: Cloudiest in appearance of Tree House Lights On, Hill Farmstead Mosaic Single Hop Pale Ale and Tree House Vagabond. Pours a dull yellow color with an orange tine and a finger-plus of head that quickly settles to an inconsistently ring around the glass. Okay lacing and retention. 3/5

Smell: Herbal, earthy spice, pineapple, cantaloupe, and bubblegum. The nose is a little weird for the style. 3.25

Taste:Bubblegum and cantaloupe dominate, which is so odd. A little pineapple too, but much less than expected from the nose. Finishes with an odd mint-without-the-menthol, "green" character. Unique, but not in a way that I enjoy. 3.25/5

Mouthfeel: Light-medium bodied, appropriate carbonation. Dry finish with a fruity-sweet profile. 3.5/5

Overall: Definitely the weak link in an otherwise solid box of IPA. Bubblegum is definitely not a welcome flavor/aroma in a hoppy beer for me. Tree House makes much better brews in my opinion, but its good to see breweries make out-of-the-box beers.

Cost: $5 for a 16 oz can.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Beer Review: Mosaic Single Hop Pale Ale

Reviewing the Mosaic Single Hop Pale Ale from the Hill Farmstead Brewery out of Greensboro, Vermont.

Score: 92

750 ml growler with a "best buy" date of 04/22/15. Served in a Revolution Brewing Company snifter/tulip hybrid glass and enjoyed on 04/22/15.

Appearance: Pours a clean, translucent golden color with two fingers of white head that settles to a thin layer. Good lacing and retention. 4/5

Smell: The nose is a panoply of sweet, tropical citrus: lemon, mango, tangerine, kiwi, papaya, and guava. Herbal notes and pine too. Lovely mix. 4.5/5

Taste: For me, mosaic hops tend to lack the bite I am looking for in a hoppy beer, trading off bitterness for sweetness/fruitiness. This tends to be more pronounced in single-hop brews (obviously). That said, something about Hill Farmstead's base pale ale and Shaun's mastery of the hoppy brew that elevates this well above what I was expecting. The tropical fruit mix upfront is complex and tasty enough to make up for an otherwise mild bitterness on the finish. Sweet fruity malt hits the tongue first followed by papaya, melon, pineapple, and a little lemon/grapefruit. Very mild bitterness on the finish with a long linger of dull orange peel and a hint of bready malt. Quite tasty. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied, spot on carbonation for the profile. Sweet-leaning, fruity malt profile with a mild bitterness, but a far cry from a "malt bomb." 4.25/5

Overall: One of the better mosaic hop beers I have had, and well above expectations. Kudos to Shaun Hill on another well-done hoppy brew; one that is more nuanced and complex than extreme.

Cost: $7 for a 750 ml growler fill.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Beer Review: Vagabond

Reviewing Vagabond, a collaboration IPA with mosaic and simcoe hops from Mike Saboe (former Toppling Goliath head brewer) and Tree House Brewing Company out of Monson, Massachusetts.

Score: 96

Growlered on 04/02/15. Served in a Kate The Great snifter/tulip hybrid glass and enjoyed on 04/22/15. Thank you Rudzud for the hook up!

Appearance: Pours an opaque, orange-yellow color with two fingers of white, seafoam head that settles to a thin layer. Very good lacing, good retention. 4.5/5

Smell: Smells like Alpine Nelson spiked with a heavy dose of tropical fruits. Dank pine, oodles of grapefruit, mango, pineapple, kiwi, orange soda-like orange, and a waft of alcohol. A kiss of biscuity malt in the background. Quite the bouquet. 4.75/5

Taste: Has a sweet and creamy tropical fruit mix on the palate with a nice, dry bitter finish and a lingering melon and grapefruit flavor. Delicious. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus bodied, low carbonation. Has a bit of heft for an IPA. The carbonation is a bit light for the profile, but that is more an observation rather than a negative here. Has a nice bitter-leaning balance and dry finish. 4.5/5

Overall: It was probably not the best idea to start our tasting with this beer, as it blew the rest out of the IPA's out of the water. This Mike Saboe/Treehouse collaboration lives up to every neckbeard's wet dream. This brew is reminisce of Alpine Nelson (the ones I have had recently, as opposed to the apparently atypical/"off" bottle I reviewed several years ago), with added complexity and a bit more heft to the mouthfeel. Seek this one out with confidence while it's still fresh/available-ish!

Cost: $20 for a 750 ml growler fill.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Beer Review: Lights On

Reviewing Lights On, a pale ale from Tree House Brewing Company out of Monson, Massachusetts.

Score: 85

16 oz can without a date, but I know it is fresh because Rudzud sent it (thanks man!). Served in a Kate the Great snifter/tulip hybrid glass and enjoyed on 04/22/15.

Appearance: Pours a murky, opaque orange color with a yellow tint (definitely darker than Hill Farmstead Mosaic and Tree House Vagabond) and a finger of head that quickly settles to a ring around the glass. Great lacing and retention. 5/5

Smell: Big grapefruit and tangerine citrusy hop notes. A hint of grainy malt too. Much more simplistic than the Hill Farmstead Mosaic and Tree House Vagabond, but nice. 4.25/5

Taste: Has a sweet fruity flavor upfront with minimal bitterness on the finish. Very balanced, well-rounded, but I like a bitter bite on the finish to my hoppy beers. Orange, tangerine, and cantaloupe flavors throughout. Okay finish. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: Light bodied. Feels a bit light on the carbonation relative to the profile, very soft on the palate. Has a sweet fruitness and a juicy mouthfeel, with a very light dryness to the finish. 3.25/5

Overall: This would be a great porch beer, but it feels lacking in complexity and bite for a highly regarded hoppy-style beer. Maybe that's my fault for following up a beer like Vagabond and Mosaic Single Hop Pale Ale with this. Still a solid brew nonetheless; just not the best beer I have had from Tree House.

Cost: $5 for a 16 oz can.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Beer Review: Cocoa Shake

Reviewing Cocoa Shake, a new variant of the infamous oatmeal stout from from Mikkeller out of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Score: 92

2014 vintage bottle served in a stemmed Mikkeller & Friends glass and enjoyed on 04/15/15.

Appearance: Pours an inky black color with a wisp of brown head that quickly and totally settles. Has a denser appearance with less head than the other Shake beers I have had, somewhat akin to Bourbon County Brand Stout. Swirling the brew lightly tints the sides of the glass with its brown oily legs. 4.5/5

Smell: Nestle hot cocoa powder and malted milk balls. Yum! 4.5/5

Taste: Luscious waves of chocolate coat the palate, like a cold, rich glass of milk chocolate hot cocoa with a good bitter finish. Has a touch of dark fruit on the midpalate, with some raisin flavor that bleeds over in the finish as it warms up. Quite a delicious chocolate-forward brew, albeit somewhat simplistic. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, and seemingly less viscous than its vanilla counterpart. A touch over-carbonated for the flavor profile. Has a mildly bitter finish, and develops a bid of an astringency as it warms up. 3/5

Overall: A pretty damn good beer with a mouthfeel that could use some tinkering. If this had the mouthfeel of Vanilla Shake, it would be on par qualitywise. This one was definitely worth trying. 

Cost: $15 for a 330 ml bottle.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Beer Review: Double Date

Reviewing the Double Date, a quadrupel aged in Elijah Craigh 12 year old bourbon barrels for 10 months from the Goose Island Beer Company out of Chicago, Illinois.

Score: 80

Tap pour served in a snifter glass and enjoyed on 04/08/15.

Appearance: Clear, barleywine-standard caramel brown color. Served with a bubbly ring around the glass of tan head. Minimal lacing/retention. 3.5/5

Smell: Dark fruit, raisin, brown sugar, caramel, and bourbon. Rich, and inviting. 4/5

Taste: Tastes a lot like it smells - a bourbon-spiked mix of dark fruit and caramel/brown sugar notes. Very barleywine-esque, with notes of vanilla oak too. Sadly, the finish is crisp and weak. While I like the flavors present, they come across "watered down" -- like a robust barleywine concentrate cut with too much water. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: Very thin bodied, low carbonation (a little undercarbonated). Sweet profile, but not in a Dark Lord kind of way. The wateriness of the brew kills any sort of linger and makes it fall a bit dead on the palate. 1.5/5

Overall: Despite a solid aroma and flavor that drinks like a good barleywine, this brew's watery viscosity and lack of a finish holds it back overall. Definitely worth a pour, but $27 for a bottle seemed awful steep for what it was when something like Nomad Batch #1 is slightly cheaper (and not subject to the hype machine of a sub-500 bottle count, brewpub-only release). Maybe the bottles are better?

Cost: $27 for a 750 ml bottle or $6 for a 5 oz draft pour.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Beer Review: Kiwi Herman

Reviewing Kiwi Herman, a "malt beverage" made with kiwi and strawberry and aged in wine barrels from Alpine Beer Company out of Alpine, California.

Score: 97

January 2015 vintage bottle served in a stemmed 18th Street glass and enjoyed on 03/25/15. Thank you Josh for helping me acquire this brew!

Appearance: Pours a clean, transparent, light honey color with a half finger of fuzzy heady that quickly and totally settles. No lacing or retention. Traditional "golden ale" appearance, more or less. 4/5

Smell: A big blast of freshly cut up strawberry and kiwi on the nose with a bit of lemon zest too. Lovely, bold fruit aroma. No plastic character present in the nose, something I often find to be the case in strawberry sours. 5/5

Taste: A spritzy blast of strawberry-kiwi hits upfront, followed by a tannic white wine flavor and a light oak presence. Rounds out with a little funk on the finish and a hint of a "tonic water" carbonated lime/mineral water flavor too. Really, really lovely. Fruity, complex, with just enough funk to supplement the experience without detracting from the fresh fruit. The funk has a lovely lasting finish as it warms and layers on the palate. A hint of sweet grain on the back half too. 4.75/5

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with a higher carbonation level that appropriately suits the flavor profile. Finish is a mildly dry, well-balanced. Very mild acidity. Good sourness. 4.75/5

Overall: Easily the best sour I have had from Alpine, and one of the best strawberry sours out there. This one blow Chez out of the water with a bold fruit profile that is neither too acidic or sour, nor too funky. It does not hurt either that I absolutely love strawberries and kiwis. Seek this one out with confidence. Prost!

Cost: $15 for a 500 ml bottle.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Beer Review: Veritas 014

Reviewing the Veritas 014, a wild ale with cherries from The Lost Abbey out of San Marcos, California.

Score: 35

Fall 2014 vintage bottle served in a snifter glass panoramically logo branded with all the "best" macro swill and enjoyed on 03/20/15.

Appearance: Reddish-brown/brownish-red in color, much darker than Veritas 013. Pours a half finger of tan head that settles to a thin coating. Good lacing, solid retention. Murky appearance. 3/5

Smell: Acidic, artificial cherry pie cherry aroma and oak. Has a little syrupy sweetness too. Lots of pedio poo-poo too. 2.5/5

Taste: Sharply acidic and sour cherry upfront, with medicinal cherry, young funk, and wood on the finish. Very "sour brown"/flandersy in character, but more acidic. Some lacto too. Some pedio poo-poo too. Lasting, unpleasant finish. 2/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied, higher carbonation than expected. Quite acidic and tart, with a very, very dry finish. 1.5/5

Overall: What an expensive stinker. Cannot believe this won a medal at FOBAB. Red Poppy is a thousand times better than this beer. We drain-poured most of the bottle, it was so unpleasant.

Cost: $45 for a 750 ml bottle.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Beer Review: Veritas 013

Reviewing the Veritas 013, a wild ale brewed with peaches and nectarines from The Lost Abbey out of San Marcos, California.

Score: 93

April 2014 vintage bottle served in a Surly Darkness snifter/tulip "chalice" and enjoyed on 03/20/15.

Appearance: *GUSHER ALERT* When the cork was 75% pulled out, it forced itself off the bottle and violently gushed a couple of inches into the air. We lost between 10% and 20% of the bottle near instantaneously, with the bottle making a hot mess all over the table. The color of the beer is a reddish-orange color with a dark core and fade to a yellowish hue atop the brew. Very murky/cloudy appearance. Pours a few fingers of head initially, which settles to a thin layer of off-white head. Good lacing and retention. 3/5

Smell: Soft peach aroma, sweet and sticky sugar notes (honey?), and wood. Very subtle, not as strong or complex as expected, but appealing. 4.25/5

Taste: Sweet peach juice flavor with a good, mild sour bite. Has a robust sweet undertone like a resinous, syrupy fruit flavor. Woody finish with notes of brown sugar on the back half. A little citrus fruit-like flavor on the finish too. Very mild acidity. Very subdued sour profile for a Lost Abbey wild ale; this is nice and refreshing. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel: Medium body, good carbonation (which is shocking given how it gushed). Mildly dry finish. Mild acidity, nice sweet and sour profile. 4.5/5

Overall: What the beer lacks in complexity it greatly supplements in refreshing drinkability and a well-crafted peach flavor. Hella overpriced, though.

Cost: $45 for a 750 ml bottle.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Beer Review: Wild Wild Brett Batch 60

Reviewing Wild Wild Brett Batch 60, a dry hopped sour ale from the Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project out of Denver, Colorado.

Score: 96

2013 vintage bottle served in a Kate the Great tulip/snifter and enjoyed on 03/01/15.

Appearance: Pours a clean, orange-copper color with nice glow when held up to light. A thin fizzy off-white layer of head from the pour quickly dissipates. 4/5

Smell: A strong, juicy odor of orange and tangerine citrus explodes from the glass. Notes of lemon, pineapple, a kiss of brett and a mild lacto character too. Really lovely, and reminisce of Dry Hopped L'Brett D'or. The nose is absolutely divine. 5/5

Taste: Like the nose, the taste is loaded with sour citrus flavors and a finish that is heavier on the brett/lacto than what was present in the nose. Notes of pineapple, oranges, peach, and apricot upfront. A little lasting funk on the finish. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, nice carbonation. Very dry finish. A bit sour, but mild on the acidity relative to its profile. 4.5/5

Overall: Now over a year old, the citrus/stone fruit aromatics/flavors of this beer really shine and the buttery diacetyl character that was pungently present fresh is totally gone. Drink 'em if you got 'em.

Cost: $10 for a 375 ml bottle.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Beer Review: Framboise Black

Reviewing Framboise Black, a blend of soured Belgian-style witbiers aged in French oak barrels with black cap raspberries from the Block 15 Brewery & Restaurant out of Corvallis, Oregon.

Score: 97

2014 vintage bottle served in a Revolution Brewing tulip/snifter and enjoyed on 03/01/15. Thank you Danny for sending me this brew!

Appearance: Pours a deep purple color, like grape juice, with a finger of pinkish purple head off the pour that totally settles. Swirling the brew tints the glass slightly purple nicely. The color on this brew is quite interesting. 5/5

Smell: Raspberry jelly and cloves, with a hint of black pepper. 4.75/5

Taste: Raspberry and grape jelly with a little coriander/clove on the finish. Surprisingly simplistic, but tasty as hell. Long lasting flavors. 4.75/5

Mouthfeel: Thin bodied, appropriately carbonated. Mild acidity, a little sweet, not too sour. 4.25/5

Overall: One of my favorite Block 15 brews -- it tastes like fruit jelly! It is a shame that a good portion of this batch was lost to a flood. Great job on this one Nick!

Cost: $15 for a 375 ml bottle.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Beer Review: Malevolence Chocolate Caliente

Reviewing the Malevolence Chocolate Caliente, a Russian imperial stout brewed with vanilla beans, cacao nibs, cinnamon, Urfa biber chili flakes, and dried Aleppo pepper from Spiteful Brewing out of Chicago, Illinois.

Score: 94

January 2015 bottling. Served in a Hunahpu's snifter and enjoyed on 02/22/15 during the Oscars telecast.

Appearance: First things first: open this beer over the sink. We cracked the cap on a side-stored (but otherwise still) bottle, and this beer began gushing instantaneously. Within 15 seconds, 50% of the bottle was all over the table. Once some of the beer made its way into the glass, it poured a dark chocolate color with nice outer-edge fade and ample foamy khaki head that settles to a thin bubbly ring around the glass. Minimal lacing or retention, but nice browning effect/residuals from swirling. 3.5/5

Smell: The aroma on this beer was quite potent and pleasant (possibly because the kitchen was covered in it). Heavy-handed cinnamon, shortbread cookies, chocolate, and hints of mint and vanilla. Some chili pepper too. Reminds me a lot of Abraxas. 4.5/5

Taste: Lovely mix of cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla, sugar cookies with a hint of chocolate too. Nice light but present pepper kick and flavor on the back half. Tastes a lot like the love child of Abraxas and the 2011 vintage of Hunahpu's. Lingering spice and spiciness. Cocoa-mole on the finish too. Quite excellent! Was expecting this to be sour, infected, or off in some way given that it gushed upon opening, so the quality of the flavor was a welcome relief. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and slightly under-carbonated -- which is shocking, given how forcefully this beer gushed upon opening. Nice pepper heat that is present, but not too prominent or overpowering -- kind of like how Space Ghost is but with a little less heat. Lovely spice mix that is balanced despite brown sugar/cinnamon sweetness. 3.5/5

Overall: An excellent beer and real winner from Spiteful, who is making some interesting stuff as a newer Chicago brewery. I've been told this is already being barrel aged, and am interested to see the outcome of that project. I am not sure why this beer explosively gushed upon opening, but friends have since informed me that they have had similar experiences. Open this one over the sink with glasses on the ready, and enjoy. Prost!

Cost: $12.99 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Beer Review: Yellow Rose

Reviewing the Yellow Rose, a single hop (Mosaic) IPA from The Lone Pint Brewery, out of Magnolia, Texas.

Score: 85

Unconfirmed bottling date, but presumed fresh (less than a month old) based on the representations of the trader. Served in a Hopslam snifter and enjoyed on 02/11/15.

Appearance: Pours a translucent, murky orange color with two fingers of seafoam head that settle to clusters of clumps atop the glass. Very good lacing and retention. 4.5/5

Smell: Grapefruit, melon, and berry. A touch of grassy/earthy tones too. Lovely, fruity mix without a bitter-apparent nose. 4.25/5

Taste: Grapefruit flavor, bready malt and a little fruitiness upfront with spicy, earthy tones on the finish and a hint of onion that lingers long past the finish on the very back of the palate. Very mild bitterness. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, appropriately carbonated (on the higher end for an IPA, though). Has a mild bitter bite upfront palliated by a maltiness that quickly counterbalances. Has a foamy mouthfeel as it sits on the tongue. 4/5

Overall: A solid, but unspectacular IPA offering (though Mosaic is admittedly not my hop of choice). Definitely worth a pint, but not a must-seek brew for my preferences.

Cost: $10 for a 750 ml bottle.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Beer Review: Beer Geek Dessert

Reviewing the Beer Geek Dessert from Mikkeller out of Copenhagen, Denmark. This beer is their oatmeal stout base brewed with cocoa and vanilla.

Score: 94

Fall 2014 vintage bottle served in a Mikkeller & Friend stemmed glass and enjoyed on 01/30/15.

Appearance: Pours an inky black color with a ring around the glass of frothy khaki head. Amazing  lacing and retention. Nice oily legs, but no browning from the swirl a la Barrel Aged Beer Geek Vanilla Shake. Picture perfect stout. 5/5

Smell: Rich vanilla frosting, marshmallow, chocolate cake, and oatmeal cookies. Syrup too. Absolutely heavenly, decadent nose that is bold in aroma. 5/5

Taste: Nice medley of sweet vanilla upfront followed by lasting bitter chocolate with a hint of coffee on the finish. Opens up to a little burnt flavor on the finish too, which is slightly ashy. This is pretty tasty and quite quaffable given its bitterness, but the flavor not as epic as the nose led on. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus bodied, low carbonation. Bitter, slightly ashy finish. 4/5

Overall: Another delicious variation of Mikkeller's Beer Geek oatmeal stout. Mikkeller's been knocking it out of the park with their chocolate/vanilla variations of Beer Geek the last year-plus. This one is also very reasonably priced relative to most of their portfolio. Do not pass a chance at this one up if you see it on the shelf.

Cost: $7.99 for a 12 oz bottle.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Beer Review: Imperial Apricot Bu

Reviewing the Imperial Apricot Bu from de Garde Brewing out of Tillamook, Oregon.

Score: 98

2014 vintage bottle served in a Surly Darkness chalice and enjoyed on 01/09/15.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy apricot color with nice fade and tons of floating particulate. Minimal head off the pour, which totally settles. 2/5

Smell: Apricot for days plus some oak. Quite lovely. It's simple, but incredibly appetizing. 5/5

Taste: Tart apricot with a good pucker factor on the mid, which gets more intense as it warms. Notes of lemon too. A little vanilla, oak, and wine character on the finish too. Super lovely mix. 4.75/5

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, mild carbonation. Lovely sourness, without a heavy acidic character. Very dry finish. 4.75/5

Overall: Another home run of a fruited Bu Weisse from de Garde! This one rivals the likes of West Ashley and Fou Foune in deliciousness, albeit less complex than either.

Cost: $10 for a 750 ml bottle.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Beer Review: Great

Reviewing Great, an English-style barleywine from Alpine Beer Company out of Alpine, California.

Score: 95

October 2013 vintage bottle served in a Ballast point snifter and enjoyed on 02/11/2014. Thank you Brandon for sharing this delectable treat while letting us crash at your place Darkness Day weekend!

Appearance: Pours a chestnut brown color with a few wisps of tan head that quickly settle to a ring around the glass. 4/5

Smell: Ton of rich, fruity, and desserty aromas present: brown sugar, toffee, dates, sweet dark fruit, caramel, whiskey, vanilla cake, and light oak notes too. Smells more like a quad a la Westy 12, rather than a barleywine. There is a very faint aged hops smell present too, a la an aged IPA. 4.5/5

Taste: Candied dark fruit, toffee, and caramel. More dark fruit-forward than nose. Molasses and a hint of soda syrup underlie as well, lingering past the finish. A little alcohol warmth on the finish too. Malty, rich flavor profile. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus bodied, low carbonation level. Malty sweet and rich, but not cloying. No alcohol astringency, while possessing a robust warmth. 4.5/5

Overall: Smells and drinks more like a quad than a barrel aged barleywine, which makes this unique. Seek this one out with confidence.

Cost: $10.99 for a 12 oz bottle.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Beer Review: Civil Disobedience #6

Reviewing Civil Disobedience #6 from the Hill Farmstead Brewery out of Greensboro, Vermont. This beer is a blend of wine barrel aged and wild versions of Sankt Hans, Clara, Flora, and Juicy.

Score: 93

2013 vintage bottle served in a stemmed Hill Farmstead bulb glass and enjoyed on 02/22/14.

Appearance: Pours a murky/cloudy peach color with a thin layer of white head that settles to a ring around the glass. Poor lacing, but solid retention. 4/5

Smell: Tart grain and white wine. Grapes, tropical fruit, and lemon. A touch of honey sweetness. Reminisce of Juicy, only with more of a white wine/grape twist. 4.5/5

Taste: Tropical fruit, grain, and peach upfront, followed by an oaky white wine/grape finish. Tasty mix. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied, appropriately carbonated. Very dry finish. 4.25/5

Overall: This is a really nice blend of Hill Farmstead wild ales/saisons, and superior to Clara and Sankt Hans in my opinion.

Cost: $12 for a 375 ml bottle.