Friday, June 14, 2013

Hill Farmstead Society & Solitude #2 - Gus #52

Today I review a beer from the brewery rated as number 1 in the country.  None other than Hill Farmstead out of Greensboro, Vermont. They have been pumping out some brews that get outstanding reviews online.  Everyone seems to be nuts about trading for them too.  Heck, I was myself!  They don't have big distribution.  They also only have certain brews on tap at certain times.  They do bottle some brews but not everything.  They have a really great growler system with multiple sizes of growlers.  They seem to know what they are doing.  Hey, they are the number 1 brewery in the country after all.

Rankings aside, I have wanted to taste a ton of their beers.  I haven't made it to the brewery in my travels, yet, so the only way I was going to be able to was to set up a trade.  I was able to work out a trade with a great guy on BeerAdvocate. (thanks again ShawDeuce22!)  Really great guy to trade with!  I ended up getting a 750ml growler of this brew AND a Hill Farmstead glass.  I've been wanting one of those for a while now too!  We were originally going to trade for Ephraim from them but that was tapped out when he got there.  So he scooped me up Society & Solitude #2.  I looked it up and was pretty pumped.  I haven't been the biggest fan of Black IPAs.  A lot of them are just like hopped up Porters to me.  I feel some people don't coordinate the right hops with the base malts in there or maybe just use some black patent to give it color.  For this, however, I was really excited.  I'd heard a ton of great things and knew if I was going to give the style a good run, why not do it with an awesome brewery.

So here is the review of Hill Farmstead's Society & Solitude #2.


How it rates with others:

YouTube Reviews:
NONE of this brew.  But, check out What Cheers! review of Society & Solitude #6!

Review sites:
BeerAdvocate
RateBeer

Hill Farmstead Website

About the Beer:
Style:  Imperial Black IPA
Alcohol by Volume:  9.5%
IBUs:  N/A

I poured this into my NEW Hill Farmstead glass.  (part of the trade)



Appearance:  Coming out of the sweet 750ml swing top bomber, the brew was really dark brown.  Pretty close to black in appearance.  Just hints of light coming through the edges of the glass and right at the top of the stem.  Very nice carbonation giving way to a creamy, thick, two finger head.  It really looks like a cup of espresso with the foam on the top.  Head was off white almost tan and had tiny bubbles mixed in with a few large ones.  Really nice head retention.  It lasted almost all the way through the first poor and kept a cap of about half a finger for the remaining pours.  Any hints of alcohol legs were kept hidden by the head and lacing.  Lacing stuck to the glass at every drink and after every swirl.  Thick, thick lacing that you see on heavy beers.  I'm impressed.  Really nice looking brew for sure.




Aroma:  The nose is where this thing really starts to jump out.  When you first take a whiff it gives you the piney and floral hops you want in an IPA.  I say piney because that's the main one I got at first.  I backed up and went back in and there was citrus.  Right in your face grapefruit and even a little bit of lime.  Upon further inspection of this magical aroma, I started to get some chocolate.  Then some coffee and hints of mocha even.  Some sweetness starts to come out and then as you back away, there are the hops again.  It has a ton of pine, some sweet chocolate, lime and grapefruit citrus, then finishes with a bit of coffee roastiness and dark chocolate.  Needless to say, this thing has a complex aroma.  One wouldn't think those would go together but it is a fantastic aroma with no signs of alcohol at all.  By far the best Black IPA I've ever smelled.

Taste:  First sip brought on the pine and citrus hops.  Middle of the mouth the dark chocolate and cocoa come in.  Then the back of the mouth finishes with that roastiness and more of the pine.  It has a perfect amount of sweetness to balance everything.  Still get some of the lime and grapefruit throughout the whole thing.  Aftertaste is bitter like dark chocolate and hop bitterness at the same time.  It really is as complex as the nose.  No alcohol presence at all.  I just don't pick it up.  It's hidden so well for 9.5%.  You can pick up everything you get in the nose and even a slight bit more roasted notes.  Mouthfeel is medium-full.  Good amount of carbonation without being too much at all.  It's just perfect to clean it all off your palate and move to the next thing.  I'm going to savor this one for a while for sure.

Verdict:  I'm definitely not one to over appreciate a beer for it's name.  I will look for things wrong in the top rated beer, the first time I have it.  But, this one really didn't have much at all wrong with it.  If it's there I can't find it.  That's a lot coming from someone who has taken many passes on Black IPAs.  I've even poured some out!  I would never pour this one out.  I've read that this is the Imperial or Double version of their regular Black IPA, James.  I'm intrigued to try that now.  The nose was my favorite part of this beer.  The taste and appearance were amazing as well, but the nose was unbelievable.  I would let that be an air freshener in my house if I could!  It goes with out saying I'm giving this an A+.  I really, really, REALLY liked this one a lot.  Maybe I can get some more in a trade some time.  Now I'm wanting to even more try some of their other stuff.  Best brewery in America?  Well I'm not able to judge that, but this is really close to being, IMO, the best Double Black IPA period.  I haven't had a ton, but I've had some big examples.  Firestone Walker Wookey Jack is on my list to try as well.  I'll get it one day.  For pairings, this one is tough.  It has to be something that can hold up well to it.  Something for desert would be great.  Maybe some brownies or a nice chocolate mousse.  That would be good.  I'll go with chocolate mousse.


I told you this thing had some good lacing!

Great job by Hill Farmstead on this one.  Thanks to everyone for reading.  Let me know what you think and if you've had this brew as well.  All my contact info is below.  Drop me a line or suggest some other brews for review!  We are still growing the site and hope to keep bringing you brew info!

Cheers,

Gus

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Epic Brewing Co. Big Bad Baptist (Release #10) - Gus #51

Today's review is another one from the Epic Brewing Co. out of Utah.  I'm really looking forward to this one as it's one of my favorite styles, Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout.  No hesitation or delay with this one.  Let's get it into a glass!

Here's the review for Epic Brew Co. Big Bad Baptist!  (Love the name!)




How it rates with others:

YouTube Reviews:
Daniel from Beyond the Pour
Jamison's Beer Reviews
Ryan aka StumpyJoeJr

Review sites:
RateBeer


About the Beer:
Style:  Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
Alcohol by Volume:  11.4%
IBUs:  N/A



Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout #10
Brewed on August 24, 2012. Packaged November 15, 2012.
This release was aged in both whiskey and bourbon barrels, primarily first-use whiskey casks, and second-use bourbon casks.  Additional dark chocolate and fruit flavors mingle with the whiskey and bourbon notes.

The Grains/Malts
Muntons Maris Otter Malt, Briess 2-Row Brewer Malt, Crystal Muntons, Weyermann Light Munich Malt T1, 2-Row chocolate malt, 2-row black malt, roasted barley
Ibis Coffee (Gayo Mountain Sumatra Dark) and Cocoa Nibs.

The Hops
Nugget, Chinook, Cascade

I poured this brew into my Cigar City Snifter.

Appearance:  The brew pours, as expected, very black.  The head is dark khaki and measured about half a finger.  You can see carbonation coming up so it's not really thick but it is as black as a cup of coffee with hints of brown around the edges.  Lacing sticks on the glass as it's swirled and alcohol legs are left right after.  Really great looking example of an Imperial Stout.




Aroma:  Big nose on this brew.  Mixture of bourbon, chocolate and coffee.  There is some alcohol sweetness in there as well.  Really puts off a milk chocolate aroma with the combination.  The coffee mixes quite well with it.  Little bit of grainy notes too.  Some small vanilla notes but not huge and not overly tannin rich from the barrels either.  It's all a really nice combination from everything.  Super balanced and enjoyable aroma.

Taste:  Right from the beginning I pick up more vanilla in taste.  Then the dark chocolate and coffee roasty bitterness comes out.  Like an espresso flavor with some mocha mixed in.  Middle of the mouth has the sweetness I was looking for.  Back of the palate and aftertaste brings out some more bourbon and some of the oakiness.  I like the slight burn that it gives from alcohol.  Not overly hot but lets you know this is a big brew.  It warms up very nicely in the throat.  As the brew warms more of the bourbon comes out and some grainy sweetness begins to shine.  Mouthfeel is medium-thick and the right amount of carbonation shows through.  Really nice stuff.

Verdict:  I really, really like this stuff.  I figured I would after reading some reviews and the website.  I like how they break down what's in it on their website.  Nice to know what ingredients they use to get the great flavors.  This had a perfect balance of chocolate, coffee, bourbon and sweetness.  It's complex without being overly so that it is confusing what you are drinking.  Really great mouthfeel and overall top notch.  They set out to brew a big bad stout and that's just what they did.  I'm giving it an A.  I'm really glad I got two bottles of this.  It drinks great now but with some time on it, it will get even better.  Perfect for a cool night or great with some cookies for dessert.  Great job Epic!!  Now if I can just get out there to the brewery to get on of those glasses!

Thanks again for reading.  Let me know what you think and if you've had this brew as well.  All my contact info is below.  Drop me a line or suggest some other brews for review!

Cheers,

Gus

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Bruery Mother Funker - Gus #50

Finally made it!  It's taken a long time and there have been some gaps in the posts, but I'm finally to #50!  I apologize for not getting posts up as quick but with work and my brewing it's been hard to just sit down and write a post.  I hope to do better!

The beer today is one from The Bruery in Orange, CA.  I wanted to do one that is in the style of what I've been into lately.  I recently acquired this in a trade so I decided to pop The Bruery's Mother Funker.  This is claimed to be one of the sourest beers out there.  I'm hoping it lives up to that name!  This one is over a year old.  They don't recommend cellaring more than a year so we will see how it has held up.  I was lucky to get this in a trade as it is one of their Provision Shop releases.  It had to be bought in their, now closed I believe, Provisions Shop.  Thanks to Larry for the trade!


How it rates with others:

YouTube Reviews:
Ryan AKA StumpyJoeJr
Peter The Master of Hoppets

Review sites:

About the Beer:

ABV: 6% Release: One time only


"Mother Funker is a sour blonde ale that has been aged for several years in barrels predominately used for Chardonnay. Mother Funker is a seriously sour beer, perhaps the most sour beer we’ve produced so far. Bursting with citrus, funk, and a hint of white vinegar, Mother Funker is for those who like their sours with more sour."

I poured this brew into my Bruery tulip glass.  I thought that would be fitting.


Appearance:  Pours out a hazy golden yellow.  Very little head left in there.  I didn't expect too much though as it is a sour and it's over a year old.  There is some carbonation streaming up and holding on the sides but nothing crazy.  Settles out a little clearer but I'm not able to see my hand through the glass.  No real alcohol legs or crazy lacing to speak of.  Does look very refreshing though!



Aroma:  There was no hiding that this was a sour beer from the moment the cap was popped.  I could smell the sour, lemony and vinegar notes instantly.  It really started to draw my mouth up.  I love it when that happens.  The vinegar is more of a white wine or just a white vinegar.  There is also some grainy sweetness in the aroma as well.  Hints of the lemon and some slight funkiness.  Mostly the sour overplays the funk.  It has a hint of barnyard but not a whole lot.  Definitely still has some grassiness and sweetness behind the sour and vinegar aroma.

Taste:  Wow... They aren't playing around on the sour here.  Instantly that's what you get.  Sour Warhead candy type flavor.  The lemon Warhead at that.  So much lemon flavor in there.  It goes all the way back to your throat.  The added time on this has really amped up the sourness.  With the second sip, to wash my palate, I do get some of the vinegar notes.  After a few drinks you get some of the grainy sweetness and some old hay type flavors.  That's the best way to describe it.  I'm sure in my youth I've tasted some old hay growing up on a farm.  That's what it reminds me of.  It's very, VERY sour.  I'm really liking this but kind of regretting tackling it alone.  HA HA.  Super dry mouthfeel and finish as well.  It's super sour but then it goes away right after you swallow.  No crazy lingering aftertaste.  It makes you want to drink more but then again it reminds your of the HUGE sour notes as soon as you take the next sip.

Verdict:  This is by far the sourest (most sour?) beer I've ever had.  It's dry, sour and a hint of sweet.  I'm not going to say it's easy to drink.  It is, but it isn't.  I had to have a different beer in between glasses to give my palate a break.  As it warmed the sourness just got bigger and bigger.  More sour than any Gueuze or Lambic I've had.  Definitely more sour than Rueuze from them.  (I loved that beer!)  This Wild Ale is really, really wild!  It's an amazingly crafted beer though.  It's not just sour and that's all you get.  It's not the most complex brew but, it has a sweet backbone to back it up.  The best comparison I can give is the Warhead one.  It's sour then it has a little sweetness to give your palate a break.  I think this is an A caliber brew, maybe an A- for a grade.  Amazing beer but if I could change one thing it would be to add a little more sweetness.  That would make it a little more drinkable.  I would have loved to have tried it fresh.  I think this is a stand-alone brew but if I had to pair it, I'd say some type of salad with a sweet dressing.  That would be a good mix.


Cool verbiage on the back of the bottle.  "Not for the sour beer newbie"  HA HA

Thanks to everyone who is out there reading.  We appreciate all the views and feedback.  I hope to have some more homebrew stuff to post soon.  Also some more brewery visits.  Let me know what you guys think of how we've done so far.  My contact info is below if you have any comments or suggestions!

Cheers,

Gus


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Monday, May 6, 2013

BREWSCHOOL 101 - Brewhaha

Happy Monday to everyone out there!  I wanted to take the time and make a post about something awesome that is going to happen in the Jackson, MS area.  Brewhaha (our very own homebrew store) is going to be putting on a school to teach folks how to brew.  The event is going to be at the headquarters of Southern Beverage Co. on May 20th.  It's $35 per person for the class.  I'm sure the slots will fill quickly so if you have been thinking about brewing your own beer or know someone that has, check it out.  There is a link to their Facebook under the image below.  Click on it to get more info about Brewhaha and give them a like on Facebook.  Mac and Nick are really great guys doing a great thing for our area.  There will be a lot to be learned at the class I'm sure.  A great homebrew store ran by some great guys.  Stop in and check them out sometime!


Cheers and happy brewing!

Gus



Friday, April 26, 2013

Jester King El Cedro - Gus #49

Here is another brew from the, growing in popularity, brewery out of Austin, TX.  Jester King is steadily putting out some great and unusual brews.  This is definitely one of the more unusual ones I've heard of.  They are taking a hoppy farmhouse style ale, aging it with Brettanomyces.  But not just that... They are aging it on Cedar wood spirals as well.  Very interesting combination.  I've had a few things aged on Cedar but nothing like this wild ale.  I'm fast becoming a wild yeast lover and even using it in my home brews now.  So what will this one be like?  Will hops and wild yeast blend well together?  How will the cedar effect the brew?  I'm definitely anxious to find out.  Let's pop the top on Jester King's El Cedro.


How it rates with others:

YouTube Reviews:
None yet!

Review sites:

About the Beer:
Style:  Saison/Farmhouse Ale (Really a Wild Ale)
Alcohol by Volume:  8.00%
IBUs:  N/A


El Cedro
Hoppy Cedar-Aged Ale with Brettanomyces

"Farmhouse ale hopped with piney, citrusy American hops, aged on Spanish Cedar spirals, and bottle conditioned with Brettanomyces yeast.  Unfiltered, unpasteurized and naturally carbonated."

As soon as I popped the top on this one, it began gushing out.  They have a suggestion on the bottle to refrigerate 24 hours minimum before drinking.  I did not do this.  I'm sure the cold shuts down the yeast and lets the brew settle.  So I advise going by what they suggest HA HA.

I poured this brew into my Jester King glass of course.


Appearance:  After I had contained the gush from the bottle, the brew poured a hazy deep golden color. Almost orange but more along the lines of a deep gold or dark hay color.  The head was an easy four fingers until it settled down a bit to two fingers.  Interesting lacing and waves along the glass.  It had ripples in it around the glass.  Very nice head retention.  The lacing hid any alcohol legs if there were any.  Very soapy head.  Tiny bubbles and every so often a larger bubble.  It looks amazing in the glass.  It moved around the glass when swirled like it would climb out of the glass with too much agitation.


Aroma:  This is where the brew gets even more interesting.  Big piney, resiny dank notes right up front.  Citrus and a bit of sweet almost like a sweet orange in there as well.  Then you get the cedar.   I really can smell the cedar as if it were a piece of wood I was smelling.  It blends so well with the hop aromas.  It's like smelling a bouquet of citrus flowers mixed with a fresh cedar board.  As I dig in further I pick up the tiny hint of the wild yeast.  It's mixed in so well but you can pick it out.  Slight funk to it.  Not really sour by any means.  With all that's going on in the aroma there isn't a hint, at all, of alcohol.  I think the flavors are going to be extremely intense.

Taste:  There is a lot going on in the flavors of this brew.  Not just that the mouthfeel is very interesting as well.  Up front you get the really citrusy and bitter hops.  You get what you would think cedar tastes like, then it goes to totally fruity.  I'm sure the mixture of the hops and the wild Brettanomyces are what gives it this fruity flavor.  If I had to guess I would say they are using a combination of Brettanomyces yeasts in there.  Or maybe it's their own blend.  Claussenii and Brux Trois come to mind with the fruity flavors they can give off.  It has a sweet flavor in the back of the mouth and finishes dry as expected.  The aftertaste is more of the bitter fruits.  Kind of like a the rind of some citrus fruits.  It finishes clean.  There is some tartness in the flavor as well but nothing that sour with me.  It's a hoppy, tart, refreshing beer.  I've never had anything like this really.  The hops mix with the cedar and the wild yeast to put out an extremely complex and flavorful brew.

Verdict:  I'm a big fan of this one.  I'm interested to see how it will age.  What will it be like when the hops die out and the Brett takes over?  Will the cedar fade out as well?  Something that will be very interesting to come back to in a few months.  I'm glad I got more than just one bottle.  For a rating this is getting an A.  I think something this complex and tasty has to get a good rating.  It's a very strange brew but you really have to keep drinking it and digging in there more.  Pairings could be anything really.  Hops would go well with spicy food.  The fruity tastes would do well with a nice salad with a vinaigrette   I'm going to try out a couple things with this one.

If you get the chance to snag this one, do it.  I'm interested to see what some others have to say about it.  I could see it being a beer that would be an acquired taste.  But, that may surprise me.  I had no idea what to expect going into this one, other than all of the Jester King stuff I have had so far, has been good.  Let me know what you think.  I'm going to be making some changes to my rating system in the future.  This is #49 and my next one will be something special and after that I'm going to change it up.  I hope to get more blog entries of travel in as well.  Until #50...

Cheers,

Gus


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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Country Boy Shotgun Wedding - Tom #15

For today's review we are going to look at another trade brew I received from a really awesome guy John in KY. (Check out his bar if your in the Owensboro KY area http://kinggambrinus.com/) This was about a 22oz growler fill right from his bar. Since this brewery is located in Kentucky and doesn't distribute far from this base I was very excited to try this as Beer Advocate says its limited/brewed once. So read on and lets see how it fared! 
How it rates with others: 

About the beer: 
Style: American Brown Ale 
ABV: 4.8% 
IBUS: N/A 

About the BREWERY (Not the beer!) 
Country Boy Brewing is proud to be bringing some great local craft beer to Lexington, KY! We are three guys (Evan Coppage, Jeff Beagle, Daniel Harrison) who love good beer are exactly what our name implies: Country. We are all KY born and raised, and our passion for beer and all things KY will show in the many beers we plan to have on tap very soon!

We are passionate about using the freshest ingredients to bring great local beers that Kentuckians can be proud to call their own!


I poured this into my Philly BeerScene Bulb Glass 



Appearance: This poured a nice chocolate looking brown with minimum head. (Remember this was a growler fill) Little head that poured appeared to be a cream color. There wasn't any lacing present in the glass. A fair amount of carbonation bubbles raising throughout the glass. Overall a solid looking brown ale. 

Aroma: The aroma was what you would normally expect from a brown ale but this brown also provided a nice bready presence. Than there was a subtle chocolate and vanilla aroma that came from the back end. This really spiced things up and made this brew really stand out in the aroma department! 

Taste: So for the most part the taste follows the aroma. But at first sip you get a very silky smooth mouth feel from this brew. The layers of chocolate begin to swirl around in your mouth and hints of toasted bread and some nuts come into play all blending very superbly. At the finish of this there is a nice mellow vanilla backbone that picks up perfectly. Everything blends so well in this brew. This brown definitely reminded me of dessert! 

Verdict: This was definitely a solid brown ale across the board. I have to say that this in my book definitely contends with the best of the brown ales out there. If you are lucky enough to live in the area that this brew is available or have a change to acquire it in a trade do so since signs point at the fact this is a one time brew. I have to easily give this brew a well deserving A-. It really was a refreshing and delicious brew.


 Thanks for reading and remember to subscribe, follow and like us on Facebook!
 Also follow us on untappd! thampel89 & Gus_13 

Cheers
 - Tom  


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

18th Street Sinister - Tom #14

Hello all, seems to be the same story every time but I am back from a busy month with another review on a recent trade I received from a buddy in Chicago. Its a DIPA called Sinister by a start up brewery, 18th Street. Being from a start up brewery is always something fun to dive into as they are just getting on their feet. So lets see how 18th Street will do!


How it rates with others: 
BeerAdvocate 
RateBeer 

About the beer: 

ABV: 9%
IBU: N/A
Availability: Rotating 
Hops: Falconers Flight, Zythos, Cascade

About the brew: 
Chicagoans like hoppy beers, so we obliged by brewing a mean Double IPA. Then we asked artist Joey Potts to design a label of equal intensity. Generously hopped with Falconers Flight, Zythos, and Cascade, Sinister is brimming with juicy, tropical flavors of mango and pineapple. Don’t expect back rubs and mixtabs from this beer-- Sinister won’t even remember your first name. 
What do you expect? 
Poured this into a standard pint glass
Appearance: This brew poured like you would expect a Double IPa would. Poured a slight burnt orange color with a off white finger of head. Dissipated fairly quickly leaving lacing throughout.

And another picture of the label, just cause I think the artwork itself deserves a little spotlight itself!

Aroma: This was a fantastic smelling DIPA and smelled just as the label says it. Big fruit notes of mango and pineapple wrap around your nose. This is backed by a nice sweetness that swirls about from the hops and malt backing. This was a great smelling beer. 

Taste: Phew! This beer definitely drinks like a west coast DIPA. IT was fairly bitter at first but not over powering. The fruite notes shine in the middle and really do great things for this beer. The 9% abv was completely hidden in the background. This made for an incredibly easy drinker. 


Verdict: First, I have to thank my buddy Rob out by Chicago for this fantastic beer! Cutting right to the chase I easily give this a solid as I think it definitely can hang with the best of the DIPA's out there. This was completely balanced throughout and well deserving of a solid A. If you can get this brew, get it! If not, defnitely trade for it! If this is any indication of things to come from 18th Street, boy will they have a line out their door like the best of them do! 

As always, thanks for reading and remember to subscribe, follow and add us on facebook! 

Cheers,
 - Tom 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Epic Brewing Co. Brainless on Cherries (Release #13) - Gus #48


This brew comes from Salt Lake City, Utah.  When one thinks of beer states, I'm sure Utah never jumps to the top of the list.  But there are a few really great breweries there.  I'm sure many more than I know about.  This one I have heard about for quite some time.  I've wanted to try a good many things from them, the following review being toward the top of that list.  I finally had a chance thanks to Tom picking me up one and sending it my way.  This is Epic Brewing Co.'s Brainless on Cherries.  They take their Belgian-style Ale, Brainless, and put it into red wine barrels with cherry puree.  To top that off they add in Champagne yeast to give it an effervescence and to finish out the fermentation.  I was really excited to try this one.  I took it to my friends house to sample a few brews and have a cookout.  I hope to have a few more of their brews up for review soon.




How it rates with others:

YouTube Reviews:
American Beer TV

Review sites:
RateBeer


About the Beer:
Style:  Belgian Ale
Alcohol by Volume:  10.1%
IBUs:  N/A



Brainless® on Cherries Release #13
Brewed on May 15, 2012. Packaged August 25, 2012.
Release #13 is significantly different from previous releases with brewers using a higher percentage of tart to sweet cherries in the puree.  The result is a wonderful balance of cherry, malt and red wine flavors, not too sweet and not too sour.  The champagne-like bubbles tickle the nose with dry and fruity aromas.

The Malts/Sugars/Fruits

Weyermann German Pilsner Malt, Muttons Maris Otter Pale malt, Briess Caraplis malt, Flaked Oats, Candy sugar
100% pure Cherry puree (no preservatives) Second fermentation and aged in Red Wine barrels with Champagne yeast.

The Hops

Premient, Tettnang, and Saaz.
I poured this brew into my Jester King glass.

Appearance:  The brew poured form the bottle a deep red color with hints of pink mixed in.  Barely had a ring of head after the pretty aggressive pour.  That didn't stick around at all and soon the top was as smooth as glass.  Very little carbonation coming up from the sides of the glass.  No real lacing to speak of.  There were alcohol legs on the glass when the beer was swirled.  Very wine-like in appearance.


No head to speak of so this means no retention.

No lacing around the glass at all.  Really has a light red/pink wine appearance

Aroma:  The aroma started off with the sweet hints of cherries and maybe even a bit of strawberry.  Hints of the oak barrels but again picking up something like wine tannin in there.  No alcohol is picked up at all.  Very nice for the high ABV.  Don't really pick up any of the Belgian characteristics.  Not spicy or phenolic at all.  Maybe a hint of tartness in there.  Just enough to know that it is there.  It smells like it will be dry.  I'm really amazed at how much this beer reminds me of a wine.  It is aged in red wine barrels so I think it pulled a ton of these characteristics from there.  The Champagne yeast was used in the barrels as well so that may be where the nose is void of any residual sweetness.  I think I was going into this one looking for more Belgian characteristics and maybe just a sweeter nose.

Taste:  The taste brings on a little more tartness than the nose.  Up front you get the tartness like a bit of a sour cherry, then it is followed by a little cherry flavor in the mid palate.  Back of the mouth it finishes super dry.  I mean one of the driest beers I think I've had.  Small bit of sweetness but nothing like I expected since it was aged on the cherry puree.  I think the Champagne yeast really just cleared all of that up.  It helps to get it to the higher ABV but it also in turn dries this out a ton.  That alcohol is hidden well in the flavor as you don't get it at all.  It's super easy to drink.  I'm just surprised that it is this dry.  The flavor doesn't bring forth any of the Belgian characteristics either.  

Verdict:  It's not that I dislike dry beers.  Most of the time I actually like a good dry beer when it is matched with more flavors.  I think this brew would be great paired with some good foods like red meat or maybe even some lamb.  I was just expecting more out of this one.  It's still good and I think it get's a rating of a B-.  I think if they could keep some of the Belgian characteristics it would be even better.  Maybe if there was some sweetness left over it would bump it up a bit as well.  I have a few more from these guys that I'm anxious to try out.  Epic has been putting out some really great things.  This one just wasn't for my tastes.

If you've had this one and had similar or different results, let me know.  I'm hoping to break into some of their other stuff soon!

Cheers,

Gus

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Trunks Up! - Road Trip - Gus #1

Doing a first of it's kind post for the blog today.  I've decided I'm going to get out more and see more of the breweries that interest me.  I happened to be in Birmingham, AL last week for a concert (Dave Matthews Band and yes it was an awesome show!) so I wanted to pop by and see a brewery or two.  I also wanted to pay a visit to some bottle shops there that have some pretty great stuff.  So this will be a blog style entry of my weekend spent in BHam.  I stayed with a couple good friends (Thanks Scott and Katy!) and took my buddy Zac with me.  He usually goes to the DMB shows with me.  This entry will be pic heavy so be warned!  HA HA

We left out on Friday just after lunch and made it to BHam mid afternoon.  I went straight for Hop City.  That place was amazing.  Tons of beer to choose from and some great stuff on tap.  I finally got to try Founders KBS on tap there.  They had sold out of their bottles so I didn't get any to bring back.  This beer was fantastic.  Really complex and not overpowering with the alcohol or bourbon.  I also had Great Divide's Grand Cru.  It's a Belgian Dark Strong style ale and pretty tasty as well.

 This aisle... The Belgian aisle is where I spent most of my time of course.

I was glad to see this.  I have been wanting to try this.  Also wanting to get some to age to see what the Brett does in there.

Also picked up the last one of these.  Heard good and bad about it but I wanted to give it a shot.  It will be my first Ommegang brew and it's based around one of my favorite shows!

This place has buggies for beer shopping!  Granted they have wine too but still... The beer is what it's all about.  As you can see, when I decided I had done enough damage, we headed out to got to my friend's house.

Scott cooked spaghetti so we grubbed out there and when our food had digested we struck out to find us a bar.  Katy was kind enough to give us a ride.  First spot we hit was ok.  Just macro stuff in there really.  A few things on tap but not what I was looking for.  The music was really putting a damper on the night so we called a cab and waited for an hour to pick us up.

While waiting I had scoped the beer scene out and found that the bar to be at was The J. Clyde.  We arrived there and I saw all the taps and knew it would be a good spot.  I started the night with Jolly Pumpkin's Oro de Calabaza.  I was a fan of this one.  Nice tart flavors and super drinkable.  Then I went to the Hitchhiker IPA from the local brewery Good People Brewing Company.  Solid IPA and really hoppy.  They had a few cask options so I had Old Engine Oil porter from Harviestoun Brewery next.  Definitely smooth off the cask.  I liked that one a lot.  Keeping with my Belgian theme I then tried a beer that was suggested by another patron in the pub.  He actually bought a couple of these for me.  It was Brouwerij Het Anker's Gouden Carolus Easter.  It was a nice Belgian Strong Dark Ale with hints of licorice and star anise with some faint cherries.  I would actually like to have more of this one on a fresh palate to get more out of it.  I finished that night with Avery's The Reverend.  Another fantastic Belgian Quad.  I need to get a few bottles of this as well.  I didn't take any pictures at the pub and honestly after those brews I doubt they would have been good photos.

The next day (Saturday) we did some shopping before the concert.  We decided we would go check out a brewery in between shopping and heading out for the show.  We decided on Avondale Brewing Company.  I really wanted to see this place as I had heard some good things about it.  They have a nice brew pub and a porch to sit on and sample beers.

As you can tell, when we pulled up it was packed.  I really like the theme of this brewery/pub.  It's in an old what seems like factory.  Really cool atmosphere.

This was awesome!  I loved the big logo on the floor when you walk in.  

I told you it was PACKED!! Zac is in there soldiering it up for us a couple of beers.  He also got us some T shirts.

People wall to wall!  And, it was packed outside.  We apparently picked the best day to come since they had a fish fry fundraiser as well.  Had a band playing out back and everything.  We stuck our heads out there but we really wanted to stay and hang out.

Few quick pics of the brewery area.




My first brew was a glass of their Flanders Oud Bruin.  It was a really nice tart and malty sour.  I really really enjoyed this.  I hope they start bottling this soon.  They just recently put their first beer into bottles.  I believe it was their Kriek.  I didn't get to sample it, they were out.
Check out that sweet new tulip I picked up while there!  Trunks Up!

My second brew was a Peach Saison style ale.  SUPER refreshing and easy to drink.  Quite tasty as well.  I think this one was Zac's favorite.

It was a fantastic time at the brewery.  We did have to skip out pretty quick so we could get ready for the concert.  But I will definitely be back there.  I sampled two of their brews and had a sip of Zac's Miss Fancy's Tripel.  It was also very good.  I will definitely try more of them the next time I go.

I highly recommend hitting these places if you have time and are in Birmingham.  I had a blast at them all.  I'm going to make another trip I believe when they release the Kriek in bottles.  I'll post some reviews soon of the other beers I picked up while I was there.

This was my first post of this kind but I think I'm going to do some more.  It will keep the blog expanding and having more information about beers.  I'll link in the info to the stops we took so you guys can look them up as well.  Until next time,

Cheers,

Gus

Links:

Hop City (also in Atlanta)
The J. Clyde
Avondale Brewing Company

Monday, April 8, 2013

Alpine Pure Hoppiness - Gus #47

It's been a while since I've posted a review.  Been working on some other things, including traveling a bit with work and vacation.  I'm coming back with a good one though!  Today's brew comes from a small but very revered brewery in California.  Located in Alpine, CA outside of San Diego.  Alpine Beer Company has been a major name in the beer world for their hoppy brews.  I've had a couple of them on my list for a while now.  I was fortunate enough to receive this one and one other from Winton!  Thanks again man!  Duet was a very tasty brew but there was some carbonation issues so I decided not to review that one.  This will be the review of their West Coast Double IPA named Pure Hoppiness.


How it rates with others:

YouTube Reviews:
Jamison's Review
Ryan AKA StumpyJoeJr
Daniel from Beyond the Pour

ratebeer review:

Information from Alpine's website:
http://www.alpinebeerco.com/the_beers.html

About the Beer:
Style:  Double IPA
Alcohol by Volume:  8.0%
IBUs:  Classified
O.G.:  1.072

A West Coast Double IPA
So mega-hopped it will take you to hop heaven.  We've used hops in the boil, more hops in the giant hopback, and added to that, an incredible amount of dry-hopping for that cutting-edge "hop bite."  Once you've tasted this unique beer, all other pale in comparison.

I poured this brew into my Jester King glass.


Appearance:  The brew poured out of the glass with a glowing orange color.  Really clear and decent carbonation.  The head was about a finger but it didn't last very long.  Hints of alcohol legs on the edges of the glass.  Head finally gave way to a floating island of bubbles and rocky clumps around the edge of the glass.


Aroma:  First thing I notices was a tropical fruit sweetness.  Really a sweet orange like a tangerine with some hints of pineapple and fruit punch.  Then you get the malty backbone and some pine notes.  After you let it warm up you get more of a citrus almost like grapefruit.  But, the big players in the aroma of this one are the orange and pineapple.

Taste:  Taste follows the nose as it usually does with a hoppy brew.  Sweet tangerine or mandarin oranges mixed with some fruit punch type flavors.  Hops follow through on the back of the palate with that dry finish that gives some lemon or grapefruit tartness.  Middle of the mouth you pick up some more sweetness.  I really like the mouthfeel of this one.  Easy to drink and alcohol isn't traceable at all.

Verdict:  This is a really nice brew.  It's balanced well and showcases some nice hop flavors and aromas.  All too often all you get is grapefruit or pine flavors.  This had a nice display of what fruits can come out of a brew.  I'd like to have this one with a nice oriental salad, keeping with that mandarin orange theme.  I think it would be super refreshing in that sense.  This is definitely an A beer.  I like it much better than the Duet I had.  I will not say it's a better brew in my honest opinion until I get another bottle of Duet that has good carbonation.

Another big thanks to Winton for sending this out to me.  Be sure to take a look at his YouTube channel.  He has some great reviews.

Sorry for the lag in the posts, again.  I will get back on track with the uploads.  Expect to see more homebrew stuff as well.  That's another reason I've been slow with reviews.  The good news is I have a stock pile of stuff to review now!

Cheers,

Gus

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Anchorage Whiteout Wit - Tom #13

Hello again, today we have a pretty good review that I am pretty excited about on Anchorage Whiteout Wit. Sticking with another witbier base beer this week, I came across Whiteout Wit at my local shop as it was a first time I saw any Anchorage beer on a New Jersey shelf before. Now the Anchorage beers are a little more pricier than your normal bombers but I heard they are well worth the price. (Whiteout Wit was $15 at my local) For those of you not familiar with Anchorage Brewing here is a little passage from their site: "Founded by brewer Gabe Fletcher, Anchorage Brewing Company is one of the newest breweries to open in Alaska. Specializing in barrel fermentation with brettanomyces and souring cultures. Blurring the lines between new and old styles of beer and brewing procedures, we take extreme steps to produce some of the most unique beers ever made. "WHERE BREWING IS AN ART AND BRETTANOMYCES IS KING!"" 
So with that said everyone of Anchorage's brews are brewed with brettanomyces or brett for short. (Brett is a wild yeast strain that is used in American Wild Ales to make them sour) So read on and enjoy! 

How it rates with others:

YouTube Videos: 

ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 20 
Availability: Winter 
Hops: Sorachi Ace 

 About the Brew:
"Anchorage Whiteout Wit Bier has a quiet delicacy from the light malts and Sorachi Ace hops contribute the lemony aroma and flavor. Lemon peel, Indian coriander and black peppercorns add the same invigorating zest whiteout survivors feel when stepping from the world of white. Triple fermentation, the long slumber in French Chardonnay barrels and a shot of brettanomyces provide an explosion of flavor when combined with the other swirling, enticing elements. It's okay. Stand up, shake it off and feel alive; that's what Whiteout Wit is all about."

This was poured into my Duvel tulip glass 

Appearance: From pop of the cork there was no gushing or pressure, cork came off very easily. Poured like campaign with carbonation speeding up from the bottom of the glass. Brew was a light golden white grape color with very minimum head that didn't hang around long at all. 

Aroma: The nose filled up with brett and the Chardonnay barreling instantly followed by peppercorns. You really had to dig deep to get the orange and lemon peel through all the initial scents.Was a fantastic smelling beer. 
Taste: This followed the nose perfectly as you get a mouthful of brett and Chardonnay and A LOT of carbonation. But you definitely get a mix of fruit and a peppercorn, coriander spice. The brett and barreling really takes the witbier style to a whole new level with this one and is highly drinkable. 
Verdict: Overall I really enjoyed this one. I shared the bottle with my girlfriend and she highly enjoyed it as well so there is two thumbs up. I have to give this a solid B+ as it definitely has some witbier characteristics within the mix of the different things Anchorage does to their beers. But it was a solid easy drinker to say the least but at the slightly step price tag of around $15 its a little much to make a routine drinker when its available. 

Thanks for reading, feel free to comment, subscribe and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.


Cheers!
 - Tom 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dogfish Head Red & White - Tom #12

For today's review we are going to dip into a personal favorite of mine, Dogfish Head's Red & White. This is a wine hybrid beer as it was DFH's first wine hybrid to my knowledge. It is a Belgian style Witbier brewed with Pinot Noir Juice and a portion is oak aged. So if you are a wine enthusiast heads up this may be a beer for you! One last not the bottle I am reviewing had a year in the cellar under it's belt.
How it rates with others: 
BeerAdvocate
RateBeer 

YouTube Videos: 
Dogfish Head Quick Snips 


Alcohol by Volume:  10%
Hop Bitterness (IBUs):  35
Availability:  Limited / Rotating (2013 release: July)
Food Pairing Recommendations: Grilled red meat, Reuben, meatballs, stewed greens, grapes, Manchego cheese
Glassware Recommendation: Snifter
Wine Comparable: Light red with dried fruit flavors

From Dogfish Head:

Red & White is a big, Belgian-style witbier brewed with coriander and orange peel and fermented with pinot noir juice. After fermentation, a fraction of the batch is aged in one of our 10,000-gallon oak tanks.
The idea for Red & White was born at a beer and wine dinner Sam attended on the West Coast. Whenever there's peanut butter and chocolate in the same room, Sam's gonna mix 'em.
Red & White successfully marries the refreshing citrusy qualities of a Belgian-style white beer with the robust complexity of a bold red wine.
It's been one of our most popular limited-edition beers at our Rehoboth Beach, Del., brewpub and at festivals around the country.
Reach for Red & White when you're grilling meat or nibbling on buttery cheese.

Shared this with my girlfriend and was poured into my Cigar City Snifter and Hill Farmstead glass

Appearance: This brew pours a very nice deep golden orange color. It produced a generous slightly off white head that hangs around for a few minutes in which dies down and leaves some great lacing.
Aroma: On the nose this brew has a mildly sweet scent backed with a grainy malt and Belgian yeast. You definitely get a swirl of orange and coriander on the nose mixed with a nice dry red wine type smell. At the end you can definitely pick up on the oak barrel characteristics.
Taste: The taste definitely follows the aroma for the most part. At first you get a very mild sweetness upfront that intermingles with the orange peel and pinot noir juice. It is a great balance between these two flavors upfront. It is than backed with a subtle oak backbone that finished rather dry. Being the bottle I had was a year old, the alcohol showed no presence on my pallet being at 10%. This was a very superb brew on the pallet and was completely balance for a beer / wine hybrid.
Verdict: So this was DFH's first take on a Wine/Beer Hybrid and it is one of my favorites. I have quickly become a fan of the witbier style and on my journey on trying different wine hybrid beers I have been quickly turned off by a lot as I can quite find an equal balance in them as I do enjoy wine as much as I do beer on occasion. I just haven't found the right one after trying Red & White. (that includes DFH's Noble Rot which is what they call their closest beer to wine hybrid to date) So with all that said I have to give Red & White a all around solid A- (borderline A!) So if you are a wine enthusiast who enjoys an occasional beer or vice versa better yet maybe you just hate beer and like wine or hate wine and like beer, definitely give this one a try this July '13. One last note I will add this particular brew gets better with age! 

As always lady's and gentlemen, thank you for reading! Remember to comment, subscribe and follow us on Facebook and twitter! Thanks

Cheers!
-Tom