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...



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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 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% 

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 

 - 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: 

About the beer: 

ABV: 9%
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! 

 - 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:

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!



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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,




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:

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!