Tag Archives: Fall Release

Clipper City Heavy Seas The Greater Pumpkin

Posted on 02. Nov, 2010 by in Beer Reviews

The Greater Pumpkin
Cough Cough!  Please excuse me as I wash down this bourbon I just drank.  Oops I’m drinking some The Greater Pumpkin.  Ok so this beer is their regular Great Pumpkin Pumpkin Ale and it’s aged in bourbon barrels.  Sounds damn tasty don’t you think?

This brew pours a nice deep orange color.  2 finger white fluffy head is poured with nice retention. 

When I took my first smell of this beer I really loved what it brought to the table.  The bourbon was their but it’s rather subdued in the aroma.  Instead hints of vanilla come through with a stronger aroma of cinnamon and other spices.  Of course the pumpkin is there too.

My initial thoughts of this beer totally changed though when I took the first sip.   It was a total bourbon bomb.  Alcohol warmed my throat all the way down to my stomach.  The alcohol and bourbon had washed away everything else that was in the smell.  The good thing though is that the next sips and the finishing ones were totally different.  It’s like the beer wants the bourbon to totally take your taste buds at first but then let in all the other stuff.  The bourbon was still their, it’s not going away, but the spices come through more and more as you drink.  Cinnamon and nutmeg.  The vanilla lingers on the tongue and the pumpkin comes through nicely on the after taste. 

The mouthfeel is smooth and oily.  Medium bodied.  If it wasn’t for the strong alcohol taste and feel this might go down a little bit easier.

I like what these guys did here.  If only the bourbon could be toned down a tad bit I might give this beer a rating of A- and maybe even an A since I really enjoyed what the base beer bought to the table.

Found: Grape and Gourmet, Virginia Beach, VA
ABV%: 9.00%
Price: I believe it runs between 8-9 dollars
Website: http://www.hsbeer.com/
What the company says: Our Great Pumpkin enhanced by aging in bourbon barrels. VERY limited release.
Other beers to try from this brewery: Heavy Seas Loose Cannon, Heavy Seas Peg Leg
Other beers to try within the same style:Southern Tier Pumking, Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
Rating: B+

NYC Trip: Cantillon Blabær Lambik, Hanging out with the Vice Blogger, and Rattle N Hum

Posted on 19. Oct, 2010 by in Beer Reviews

This past weekend the girlfriend and I took a trip to NYC for her 30th and my 32th birthday.  While I promised her tickets to a broadway play, I promised myself some drinking in the city that never sleeps.  It also happens that the Vice Blogger lives in NYC so I made a little trip to his girl friends house for some pre NYC bar drinking. 

The Vice Bloggers number one want of all time is Cantillon Blåbær Lambik.  A blueberry lambic brewed exclusively with/for Ølbutikken, Copenhagen, Denmark.  It comes out yearly but it’s a pain in the ass to get since it’s only available from the one store in Denmark.  A while back I bit the bullet and picked up a bottle off Ebay.  It’s a rare treat. 

Cantillon Blabær Lambik pours cloudy purple and pink color.  It’s a color I’ve never seen in a beer before.  Beautiful.  Pink head laces the glass.  Right off the bat you’ll notice the fantastic aroma this beer gives off.  Oaky up front with a beautiful mixture of blueberry, leather, and funk.  The Vice Blogger thought it was one of the more sour noses and tastes he had ever had.  While I thought it was nice and sour and was actually pretty tame.  The taste is amazing.  The berries come out more here.  Everything is balanced perfectly.  Sourness, tartness, oak, funk.  Nothing got in the way of another ingredient.  The mouthfeel was one of the best qualities of this beer.  Smooth and velvety.  Medium bodied but more on the full side.

Bottom line is this beer is a real treat.  So drinkable.  Of course the sourness adds up over time but it’s not huge.  After the Blabaer we hit up something else that was just excellent.  Of by the way, this beer gets an A++

Next up was a brewery  I got to try at the GABF, Nebraska Brewing.  The VB bought out their Melange A Trois Reserve Series aged in French Oak Chardonnay Barrels.  Wow!  I loved this beer.  I kept on mentioning that it was unique and amazing.  Nebraska can you please send some beer to Virginia! 

Trois poured a golden orangish color with a fluffy white head.  Spotty lacing is left throughout the glass.  The smell on this beer is fantastic.  Belgian yeast, apples, pear, grapes, and oranges.  The oak chardonnay barrels give off a nice grape aroma.  Lovely.

The taste is just as good if not better.  Spicy yeasty bite up front.  The fruits explode and the oak barrel does it’s thing. Slight taste of alcohol but it doesn’t interfere at all.  A mixture of sweet fruit and tartness.   The mouthfeel is nicely carbonated and light.    I was sad to see this beer go.  I would of loved to had another bottle of this stuff.  It might of crept up in my top 10 of this year.  A+ rating.

Before you knew it, the beer was gone and it was time to hit up Rattle n Hum.  One of the best beer bars in NYC.  After a 10 dollar cab ride we were there.  We took a seat in the back and ordered some flights.  First off this is a great idea.  They had so many beers on tap, mostly thanks to the left overs that had from the Stone night they had the weekend before. 

My first flight consisted of:

Bear Republic Ryevalry: I had this brew when I went to GABF but when you mix a million other beers it’s hard to really enjoy a beer.  This time around though I really got to enjoy the greatness of this brew and it turned out to be one of the highlights of my day.  This is a great rye ipa.  I thought it was so good I bought a pint of it after.  A one time brewed IPA that needs to be tried.

Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Wild!:  If you’re had A Little Sumpin Sumpin than you have an idea how this tastes.  Mix in a little bit of sourness and tartness and you have Wild.  A very nice beer.

Stone Old Guardian Belgo-Barleywine 2010:  This year the boys from Stone decided to change the recipe of Old Guardian.  Bring the old stuff back guys.  This beer just didn’t do it for it.  It had a very candy like taste that I just couldn’t get over.  The VB agreed.

Sixpoint Pumpkin Brewster:  Hard to find a decent pumpkin ale.  This one has a C+ rating on BA but I tell you what, I really enjoyed it.  If I had to grade it I might give it a B or B+.  Highly drinkable and not overly spiced.

Second flight went a little something like this:

Lagunitas Fusion III:  Here we have a one off Imperial Stout from Lagunitas.  It’s actually 2-year old bourbon barrel-aged Gnarlywine – blended with an imperial stout (3 x stout, 1 x barleywine), aged on cacao nibs and habaneros.  Love that I got to try this beer. The cacao nibs came through nice.  The Barleywine flavors came through nicely to but I really don’t remember picking up the habaneros.  Still I really enjoyed this one. 

Stone 06.06.06:  If you have this beer and you are planning on saving it until 12.12.12 you might want to have second thoughts.  I think this beer is falling apart a tad.  It’s flat and tastes a lot like soy sauce.  It’s not a drain pour but it might be soon. 

Ballast Point Sextant Coffee Oatmeal Stout:  Another one off.  Did I mention that I love getting the chance to try one off beers.  Anyway, this isn’t a fantastic beer but it’s a decent stout.  Nice amount of coffee in this one.  I’d give it a B+.

Stone Double Bastard 2006:  Lastly another treat.  A four year old DB.  Still great and still packs a huge alcoholic punch.  Loved it.

After all that it was time for the VB to go home.  The others left for The Ginger Man.  I had the chance to have Cigar City Jai Alai IPA again, this time on draft.  Way better than bottled.  My beer journey was pretty much over after that.  Bottom line, if I lived in NYC, I’d be in deep trouble.

Karl Strauss Big Barrel Double IPA

Posted on 12. Jul, 2010 by in Beer Reviews

Big Barrel IPA
In the land of beer heaven known as San Diego, Californa lies the giants like Stone, Ballast Point, Port Brewing/Lost Abbey, Alesmith, etc.  It’s easy to forget about breweries such as Karl Strauss.   They aren’t known as making extreme beers.  They are known for taking certain styles of beers and making them well. But it seems they decided to go a little bigger around this time and release a big and tasty Double IPA.  It also just so happens that they made it with possibly my favorite hop, Nelson Sauvin.  Ever since I’ve had Alpine Nelson I’ve just loved what the hop from New Zealand can do.  What’s even better is that I got this beauty as an extra in a beer trade.  I had no idea it was coming and was the biggest surprise in the box.  It was so good that I asked the gentlemen who traded with me if he could get me more.  A week later a few more showed and I devoured them too. 

This DIPA pours a clear copper color with a ton of bubbles floating up top.  Fluffy white two finger heads.  Good lacing throughout the glass.

Now since Alpine Nelson is the only beer I can think about when I think about Nelson hops, you might hear me compare this beer to Nelson.  Alpine Nelson was a much more balanced mix of a APA and an IPA.  This beer is a full on DIPA.  Alcohol is definitely noticeable and it’s a beer that is rough around the edges.  Still a fantastic mixture hops, malt, and fruits.  Mango, grapefruit, citrus, and grape undertones.  There are other kinds of hops used this beer and you’ll pick those up to in the aroma and taste of pine.  The backbone is primarily caramel malt. 

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and more on the heavy side of medium.  It’s smooth and goes down really nice.  There’s a very bitter aftertaste that just sits on your tongue.

This is a really good DIPA.  I’m in love with the Nelson Sauvin hop.  But I still believe if you want to truly get what this hop is all about, try a fresh bottle of Alpine Nelson.  This is a kickass beer though and it’s really put Karl Strauss on the map for me.

Found: Extra in a beer trade
ABV%: 9.00%
Price: Around 6 dollars a bomber
Website: http://www.karlstrauss.com/
What the company says: Big Barrel Double IPA is an intense West Coast IIPA for hop lovers. Abundant imported New Zealand hops give this medium-bodied ale fruity citrus and white grape-like flavors over a firm maltiness. It finishes dry with a lingering bitterness.
Other beers to try from this brewery: First brew tried from these guys
Other beers to try within the same style: Brewdog Hardcore IPA, Founder’s Hand of  Doom
Rating: A

Getting caught up with reviews April Edition Part 1 of 3: The Bruery Orchard White, Wolaver’s Will Stevens Pumpkin Ale, Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock

Posted on 13. Apr, 2010 by in Beer Reviews

Orchard White

The Bruery Orchard White - With Dark Lord Day quickly approaching it seems that I’ve become lazier and lazier.  I think I’m behind like 10 reviews or something.  So over the next few days I will be boring you with smaller reviews.  Well hopefully smaller, I like to go on rants sometimes.

First up is Orchard White from The Bruery.  This is one of their Year Round beers and it’s a brew that I really enjoyed and would easily pick up another bottle of.   Orchard White pours a golden color with a small fizzy white head that quickly disappears.  The smell is pleasant and is full of coriander, citrus, banana, lavender, Belgian yeast and wheat.  Really surprised me for some reason. 

Taste is crisp and refreshing.  It has more of a lemon presence that I didn’t really get in the smell.  Mixed in there are the spices, citrus, wheat, and yeast.  Like I said it’s really nice and refreshing.  Would go well on those hot California days.  The mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, and has a nice bit of carbonation.  Another good beer from these guys.

Found: Grape and Gourmet, Virginia Beach, VA
Price: 9.99 a bottle
Website: http://www.thebruery.com/
What the company says:Orchard White is an unfiltered, bottle conditioned Belgian-style witbier. This hazy, straw yellow beer is spiced with coriander, citrus peel and lavender added to the boil and whirlpool. A spicy, fruity yeast strain is used to add complexity, and rolled oats are added for a silky texture.
ABV%: 5.70%
Other beers to try from this brewery:The Bruery Saison Rue, The Bruery Mischief
Other beers to try within the same style:Voodoo Brewing White Magick of the Sun, Samuel Adams Imperial White
Rating: B+

Wolaver’s Will Stevens Pumpkin Ale -

Wolaver's Will Stevens' Pumpkin Ale
Up next is a beer I got from my buddy Jeff.  Always like getting some beer I would never have a chance to try.  He comes through a lot.  I know I’m a little late on this once since it did come out around last October but I really don’t think this brew lost any of it’s flavor.  This beer is actually brewed by Otter Creek but the Wolaver’s line is their Organic line of brews. 

Will Steven’s Pumpkin Ale pours a deep clear copper color with minimal head and no lacing.  The aroma is defintely on the spicy side with small amounts of pumpkin coming through.  Cinnamon, cloves, and brown sugar are the main aromas. 

Same really goes for the taste.   Spices dominate.  Cinnamon came to mind at first, followed by the cloves and brown sugar.  The pumpkin is there but is hiding most of the time.  Up front are the spices and in the end the spices linger on the tongue.

The mouthfeel is very clean, medium bodied, and goes down easy.  This is not a pumpkin ale to write home about but I’m glad I got to try it.  There is just so much better out there.

Found: My Buddy Jeff
Price:
No idea on this one
Website: http://www.ottercreekbrewing.com/

What the company says: The pumpkins were grown by Will Stevens and his wife Judy, of Golden Russet Farm in Shoreham, Vermont. They have been growing organic vegetables and flowers for over 25 years.
Their farm is less than 15 miles away from our brewery!
ABV%: ?
Other beers to try from this brewery: Wolaver’s IPA, Wolaver’s Oatmeal Stout
Other beers to try within the same style:Clipper City Heavy Seas The Great Pumpkin, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Rating: B-

Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock –

Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock
Seriously how the hell did I miss this beer throughout the years?  I just amaze myself sometimes.   I’m amazed that I know the greatness of a certain beer and I just keep on passing it up.  Tisk tisk.  When I visited the Bier Garden the other day I said enough is enough and ordered one hell of a Doppelbock.

Celebrator pours a dark mahogany color with a two finger, creamy, tan head.  Lacing throughout the glass.  Smell is fantastic.  Sweet up front.  Molasses and dark fruits.  The backend has a nice bready malt aroma.   Not an overpowering aroma, just really nice. 

Taste is even better.  Once again it’s sweet but not overpowering.  Maybe just right.  Mixture of dark fruits, molasses, cherries, and the bready malt character.  Leaves a slight bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is more on the heavy side and was chewy.  Goes down nice though.  Really smooth and creamy on the palette. 

Hell of a beer that I will be revisiting again.   Heck I think I’ll pick up a bottle or two today.  Deserving in being ranked in the top 100 on BA.

Found: On draft at the Bier Garden, Portsmouth, VA
Price:
Around 7 dollars a glass.
Website: http://www.ayinger.de

What the company says: Yeah I can’t read the site.
ABV%: 6.70%
Other beers to try from this brewery: First brew from these guys
Other beers to try within the same style:Victory St. Victorious, Stoudts Smooth Hoperator
Rating: A

Pelican Pub & Brewery The Perfect Storm

Posted on 10. Feb, 2010 by in Beer Reviews

The Perfect Storm
What we have here is the #12 beer in the world according to Beer Advocate.  Hands down this is the best Barleywine I’ve ever had.  English or American.  Pelican Pub and Brewery took their Stormwatcher’s Winterfest Barleywine and aged it in 1998 Evan Williams Bourbon Barrels for four months.  What it did was created one of the most complex beers I’ve ever had.  So much going on that I don’t think my review can really explain it.  But of course as always I’ll give it a try.  =)

The Perfect Storm pours a deep opaque amber.  At first a slight bit of head was poured but quickly became what you see in the picture.  No lacing, no head.  A flat beer.  Which for this kind of beer is just fine with me.  The smell on this beer just blew me away.  I sat there for a good 5 minutes just smelling this beer.  If you love bourbon, well then you’re in luck.  It blasts the nose and is the biggest smell you’ll get from this beer.  I haven’t had a beer with some much bourbon or oak in the nose.  Just fantastic.  While the bourbon is the star by far, other fantastic aromas attack the nostrils.  Vanilla, toffee, caramel, and dark fruits.  It gives a very sweet aroma mixed in their with the bourbon.  Like I said above it’s very hard explaining just how fantastic and complex the smell is. 

Sometimes the smell of a beer is more impressive then it’s taste.  Not here folks.  It’s on par with the smell.  Friggin fantastic.  Once again the bourbon is just up front and kicking you in the teeth.  Only beer I can think of that comes close to having this amount of bourbon might be Bourbon aged Angels Share but not even that really holds a candle to the amount in this beer.  Some of you might think that it’s a bad thing and that the bourbon might get in the way of everything else.  Nope.   Because while the bourbon is really big (and damn tasty I might add) everything else is big and mixes in their perfect.  The caramel and toffee add a really nice backbone to the beer.  Mixed in with the dark fruity flavor it’s just amazing.  I also picked up a little bit of vanilla and chocolate in the aftertaste.  So much going on. 

Last but not least, the mouthfeel.  It’s just as amazing as the taste and smell.  Full bodied.  No carbonation.  Syrupy and sticky. 

Once again this is the best Barleywine I’ve ever laid my lips on.  I will be buying more of this when it comes out next year.  I’m just sad I traded all of the rest of the bottles away.  Damn trading bug!!!

Found: Mail Order
Price:
Around 20 dollars a bottle
Website: http://www.pelicanbrewery.com/

What the company says:The Oregon Coast is famous for its winter storms. Exciting, tumultuous, captivating, their allure is unmistakable. But on rare occasions, there’s one both mighty and generous. Just such a one is what inspired The Perfect Storm. Based on Stormwatcher’s Winterfest, our English-style barleywine, The Perfect Storm spent four months aging in 1998 Evan Williams Bourbon barrels. Now at its peak, The Perfect Storm delivers flavors of deep toasted malt, bourbon and oak. The finish rewards with whispers of vanilla, toffee and caramel. Best enjoyed with gusts exceeding 60 mph.

ABV%: 13.50%
Other beers to try from this brewery: First brew I’ve had from this brewery
Other beers to try within the same style:Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot. Dominion Millenium Ale
Rating: A++

Surly Darkness 09

Posted on 04. Jan, 2010 by in Beer Reviews

Surly Darkness 09
So when does an A- rating really disappoint me?  When we are talking about Darkness 09.  You see, Darkness 08 is one of my favorite beers of all time.  I remember popping that bottle open and being in love.  I really thought I was going to feel the same way about the 09 version of the brew.  While 09 is still a very good beer, they changed the recipe.  It has stout like qualities but it really doesn’t scream stout to me.  Maybe the recipe didn’t change all that much, heck I’m not a brewer but Darkness 09 doesn’t even come close to 08.  Totally different.  I understand breweries need to change things, keep people interested but this is such a big change and to me they kind of ruined a great thing.  On to the review.

Darkness 09 pours a pitch black color ( I bet you’re sick of hearing that on all my stout reviews =)  Big frothy mocha colored head dies down to a one finger head.  Darkness 08 had a really nice sweet cocoa smell.  09 replaces that with a big piney/citrus hop aroma.  I swear to god when I poured this beer I thought I poured a Black Double IPA and not a Russian Imperial Stout.  As you let the beer warm a little bit more the hops still take a front seat but more stuff starts to come through.  Chocolate, roasted malt, and molasses.

It’s really more of the same with the taste.  When you take your first sip, the hops are pretty much all you get.  Totally reminded me of an IPA.  Then the beer transforms into more the traditional stout.  The creamy chocolate comes in nicely and has a nice aftertaste along with the slight roasted malt, caramel, and molasses.  For being almost 10% the alcohol is nicely masked.  You do get a little bit of a warming feeling as it goes down.  The mouthfeel is more on the thicker side and smooth like velvet.

This is a good beer.  I would never turn down a bottle of it.  It’s doesn’t have the greatness that 08 has.  Maybe we’ll never see that version again but I’m glad I got to try it.  Thanks to Aaron and Stu for providing me bottles.  I can’t wait to age one and see how it turns out.

Found: Beer Trade
Price: I believe a bottle of this runs between 20-25 dollars
Website: http://www.surlybrewing.com
What the company says: This massive Russian Imperial Stout brings waves of flavors; chocolate, cherries, raisins, coffee, and toffee. We add a touch of hops to make this delicious brew even tasties.
ABV%: 9.60%
Other beers to try from this brewery: Surly Furious, Surly Cynic
Other beers to try within the same style: Otto’s Jolly Roger Imperial Stout, Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout
Rating: A-

The Bruery Autumn Maple and Founders Red’s Rye P.A.

Posted on 30. Nov, 2009 by in Beer Reviews

Autumn Maple

The Bruery Autumn Maple – So my brother is a Coors Light drinker.  But on Thanksgiving night there was no Coors Light to be had.  So I took out some Autumn Maple.  What’s that he says?  Well it’s a beer brewed with yams, maple syrup, molasses, etc.  He said no way, count me out that sounds horrible.  I eventually talked him into having a small glass of it.  He put his nose up to it, hrmm he said, that smells pretty good.  He then took a taste.  That ain’t half bad!!  Give me more!  Before you knew it, his glass was done and he wanted more.  I never saw someone drink an 10% abv beer so fast.  I said slow down buddy.  He then savored another glass.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I too was really impressed with this seasonal from The Bruery.  I picked this beer for Thanksgiving because well come on, it screams Thanksgiving!

Autumn Maple pours a cloudy caramel color.  Kind of reminded me of a glass of apple cider.  A nice decent sized head is pours but quickly disappears into small lacing around the glass.  The smell is of vegetable.  Yup there are the yams.  In there with the yams is a nice sweet aroma.  I imagine this is the maple syrup doing it’s thing.  Spices then come in.  Nutmeg and cinnamon.  Top that off with a little bit of brown sugar and you have quite a interesting mixture.  Definitely something I have never smelled before.

In the taste the maple syrup is what I got first.  Nice and sweet.  Next in line is the spices.  Then in the end I picked up some Belgian yeast notes and the yams.  A unique beer.  It’s amazing how some of these brewers come up with a mixture of all these things and make them work.  The mouthfeel is medium bodied, slick, and smooth as it goes down.  This really is a taste of Thanksgiving in every sip.  Hey even a Coors Light drinker liked it and that was something I would of never expected.

Found: Grape and Gourmet, Virginia Beach, VA
Price:
Around 12-14 dollars a bottle
Website:
http://www.thebruery.com
What the company says:
Brewed with 17 lbs. of yams per barrel (in other words, a lot of yams!), this autumn seasonal is a different take on the “pumpkin” beer style. Brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, molasses, and maple syrup, and fermented with our traditional Belgian yeast strain, this bold and spicy beer is perfect on a cold autumn evening.
ABV%: 10.00%
Other beers to try from this brewery: The Bruery Black Tuesday, The Bruery Saison De Lente
Other beers to try within the same style: Allagash Odyssey, The Lost Abbey 10 Commandments
Rating:
A-

Red's Rye

Founders Red Rye P.A.Wow just wow.  Founders is amazing.  I mean they go on and create a ton of different styles of beer.  The thing is, all of it is fantastic.  From their stouts to their hoppy stuff, not a bad beer in there.  This is no different.  Amazingly this is my first beer classified as a Rye Beer.  I’ve had IPAs with rye in it but I guess I’ve never had an actual Rye Beer.  Well this beer is a great mixture of a Rye beer and an IPA.    I could drink this stuff all night long.

Red’s Rye pours a dark amber color.  A small head is formed.  Minimal lacing.  The smell on this beer is great.  It’s a great mixture of Rye, citrus, floral hops, and spice.  Like I said above this is basically an IPA with a nice healthy dose of Rye.  When I took my first sip of this beer I wasn’t that impressed.  I got some citrus but that was basically it.  I then let the beer sit for a little bit.  As it warmed up a bit the rye and spice came through huge.  The rye was rough and raw on the palette.  Mixed in with the nice citrus backbone it makes for a hell of a combo.  If it wasn’t for Harvest Ale this might be my favorite tasting Founder’s brew.  The mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, and nicely carbonated.

This is a beer I will be revisiting again and again.  Good thing it’s a year round beer from these guys.

Found: Grape and Gourmet, Virginia Beach, VA
Price:
Around 3-4 dollars a bottle
Website:
http://www.foundersbrewing.com/
What the company says: Serious hop bitterness along with unyielding grapefruit bouquet from the Amarillo dry-hop. Balanced with the malty richness of four varieties of imported Belgian caramel malts. Pours a spectacular crimson with a creamy tan head. A generous addition of rye malt accentuates a spicy crisp finish.
ABV%: 6.60%
Other beers to try from this brewery: Founders Breakfast Stout, Founders Double Trouble
Other beers to try within the same style: First beer I’ve had in this style
Rating: A

Founders Harvest Ale

Posted on 03. Nov, 2009 by in Beer Reviews

Harvest Ale
Founders makes some fantastic beers.  I love their stuff.  But I think I’m about to give their highest score yet.  This stuff is liquid gold.  One of the best tasting, easiest beers to drink that I’ve ever had.  Harvest Ale is a Wet Hop Ale.  My buddy Aaron over at The Vice Blog also recently reviewed this beer and he loved it too.  In his review he also posted a link to an article about Wet Hop beers.  You can check out the article here.

Harvest Ale pours a nice clear golden color.  Tons of bubbles shoot from the bottom to the top of the glass.  A thin layer of head is poured.  The smell on this beer is awesome.  Fresh and I mean fresh pine and citrus backed by a small amount of caramel malt.  Just a fantastic fresh smell.  OK I think I mentioned it was fresh enough.

The taste on this beer matches the smell.  I could easily drink this stuff all night long and if this wasn’t a seasonal beer this would be in my fridge at all times.  When you find this beer, make sure to drink it as soon as possible.  Fresher the better when it comes to this brew.  The taste is full of citrus and a small amount of grapefruit.  Piney with a nice earthy malt background.  Bitter, clear, dry from start to finish.  Crisp with perfect carbonation.

Not much more to say about this beer other that to date this is my favorite Founders beer.  Taste and drinkability are amazing.

Found: Grape and Gourmet, Virginia Beach, VA
Price:
2-4 dollars a bottle
Website: http://www.foundersbrewing.com/

What the company says:
This liquid dream pours a hazy golden orange straw color with a large puffy white two-finger head. First sip of this beer rewards with a super juicy hop presence bursting with fresh orange and lemon citrus then continues to introduce toasted malt undertones.

ABV%: 6.50%
Other beers to try from this brewery: Founders Double Trouble, Founders Breakfast Stout
Other beers to try within the same style: Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale, Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale
Rating:
A

Two Brews from Founders: Double Trouble and Breakfast Stout

Posted on 26. Mar, 2009 by in Beer Reviews

Founders Double Trouble

Hello there it feels like its been a while since I wrote a review but actually it was just this Monday.  But I am slacking these days.  Only 4 reviews horrible!!  I promise I’ll get better.  This around we have two brews from Founders Brewery located out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  While they are well known for their Kentucky Breakfast Stout (I need to get a bottle of this!) the two brews I got to try are fantastic on their own.  First up is there Double/Imperial IPA Double Trouble.  I believe this is a fairly new brew from Founders.  It’s not even listed on their website.  I jumped at the chance to pick one of these up when I made an order from Archer Liquors.  I’m glad I did.  It’s really good.

First off the color of this brew really threw me off when I poured it.  You don’t see this kind of color in IPAs usually.  It’s a hazy/cloudy pale straw color.  It pours a small fluffy head that quickly disappeared.  It has a nice generous amount of hop flavor and aroma.  Citrus and grassy.  But what this brew really is, is bitter and sweet.  The bitterness starts off small in the beginning but quickly adds up.  There’s also a nice amount of tropical fruit in this one.  When you throw the hops, bitterness, fruit, and sweetness together you get a dangerous brew.  It tastes fantastic and you’ll want another and another.  Thank god I only ordered one.  At 9.40% a few of these will add up quick.  You don’t realize that it’s almost 10% because it goes down so darn easy.  This is a great beer.

Found: Archer Liquors, Chicago, Illinois (Mail Order)
Price: 3 dollars a bottle
Website: http://www.foundersbrewing.com
What the company says: This beer is pretty new and not on their website yet.
ABV%: 9.40%
Other beers to try from this brewery: Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Founders Black Rye
Other beers to try within the same style: Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, Bells Hopslam
Rating: B+

Founders Breakfast Stout

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better it did.  The next night I tried their Breakfast Stout.  This beer is currently sitting at #16 on Beer Advocates top 100.  This beer took me by surprise with it’s rich ingredients and mouthfeel. 

Breakfast Stout pours a pitch black color with a very thin tan head.  The smell on this beer is rich.  Full of coffee, coffee, and coffee with toasted malt.  Yes it has a nice big coffee smell if you didn’t get what I said in the sentence before this one =)  Up front when you taste this baby you of course get the rich coffee.  But halfway through the coffee changes to a nice sweet chocolate with the oats coming in last.  It’s smooth, creamy, a little thick, and a little sticky.  It’s just lovely.  That’s the best way to explain it.  Lovely.  I’m glad I have an extra bottle laying around.  Thanks to the boys from Minnesota.  Oh the rumor is Founders is signing soon to distribute in Virginia.  Oh boy!!

Found:A bottle from The Captain and a bottle from Dirtyspeed.  Thanks fellas!!
Price: No idea!
Website: http://www.foundersbrewing.com
What the company says:You’ve got to love coffee to truly appreciate this phenomenal brew. Brewed with an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and sweetened imported chocolates, Sumatra and Kona coffee. Breakfast Stout has an intense fresh roasted coffee nose toped with a cinnamon colored frothy head that seems to never fade and makes you wish breakfast could last forever.
ABV%: 8.30%
Other beers to try from these breweries: Founders Curmudgeon, Founders Harvest Ale
Other beers to try within the same style: Southern Tier Oat, Bells Java Stout
Rating: A

A few brews from Cali – Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale and Port Brewing Panzer Imperial Pilsner

Posted on 12. Mar, 2009 by in Beer Reviews

Sublimely Self Righteous Ale
It just so happens this beer has already been reviewed on Drunken Polack.com.  But you might not remember it by the same name it’s brewed under today.  You see a couple of years ago, Stone came out with their 11th Anniversary Ale.  Which was classified as a Black IPA.  It just so happen I couldn’t find this beer anywhere near me.  I pretty much threw in the towel and chalked it up as one of the beers Id just never get to taste.  Until one day I said for the heck of it “Let’s check out Ebay”  Sure enough there it was.  Sure it was almost a year old.  But I wasn’t going to pass it up.  When I drank it, you can tell it might of lost some of it’s greatness.  It wasn’t the freshest beer ever.  But it was still damn good and I was ecstatic I had to chance to give it a try.  Fast forward to this year.  I spot a article that a certain beer was coming back under a different name.  The fans have spoken.  They loved the beer.  So Stone decided to make  it a year around choice in their lineup.  Now everyone can try it.  And believe me, you’ll want to.  

Self Righteous pours a black color with a good moderate sized fluffy head.  Nice lacing as you drink this wonderful brew.  The smell is full of grapefruit and piney hops.  I also sensed a bit of roasted malt and chocolate.  It’s a small aroma but it’s there.  The taste is just fantastic.  One of the best IPAs I’ve ever laid my lips on.  Just make sure of one thing.  Drink this baby as fresh as you can.  I had two of these.  I tried one about a month ago and I tried one just yesterday.  The one I had a month ago was just a bad bit better.  Not much difference at all but just enough.  It’s still fantastic.  The taste is huge on grapefruit and piney bitter hops.  As you get to the end of the taste, you get a little bit of molasses and chocolate.  It’s not huge.  But it adds to the fantastic ending this beer gives off.  All throughout the taste there is a warming alcohol mouthfeel.  This brew is also dry and crisp throughout. 

Now that I’ve got to try this beer fresh, I will say it’s one of my favorites.  Stone is just amazing. 

Found: South Bay Drugs, Imperial Beach, CA (Mail Order)
Price: 5 dollars a bottle
Website: http://www.stonebrew.com/
What the company says: You can check out what they say about it here http://www.stonebrew.com/sublimely/
ABV%: 8.70%
Other beers to try from this brewery: Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale, Stone IPA
Other beers to try within the same style:  Dogfish 60 Minute IPA, Alesmith IPA
Rating: A+

Panzer Imperial Pilsner
Let me first say that this beer is not your fathers Pilsner.   I got this brew sometime last year from South Bay Drugs.  It seems when I see a new Port Brewing offering that I must give it a try.  They make quality stuff and I haven’t had a bad Port product yet.  Including this bad boy.  When I first heard about this yet, I remember seeing that it was going to be a one time offering.  But according to BA this is a Fall Release.  So look for it again this year if you didn’t get to try it.  Also there’s a cool little story about this brew.  Stolen from Beernews.org

“Another week, another new beer for Tomme Arthur and Company at Port Brewing. Arthur revealed last night that he has brewed ‘Panzer Imperial Pilsner.’ The recipe comes from Southern Californian musician and
Long Beach Homebrewers Club President, Julian Shrago, who was there to help brew it on July 3rd. Considering that lagering time for an imperial pils can take several weeks, the beer is still in process. A search for recipes on the LBHB website came up empty. Arthur projects less than 200 cases total and little, if any distribution, outside of the SoCal area.”So how this beer?  Read on!

Panzer pours a cloudy dark straw color with a nice fluffy white head.  The aroma is sweet, almost sugary.  It’s also full of citrus and I sensed a little bit of lemon.  Grassy hops and biscuit like malt.  Weird combination of aromas but it all comes together decently.  Now for being Imperial, nothing really kicks you in the face when it comes to the taste.  Maybe this is imperial due to the ABV%?  Who knows but what you get here is sweet and sugary front end followed by grassy hops, a good amount of fruit, and the biscuit malt ending.  This beer threw me off a bit.  Wasn’t expecting what I got.  The mouthfeel is a little thick but smooth.  It leaves a tangy and bitter after taste. 

For me this beer was hard to review.  I didn’t know what to think of it. But I came to realize that I did enjoy it.  The main reason is because well it’s a different beer.  Never had anything quite like it and that’s why I commend Tomme and the guys from Port for making it and getting it out.  Would I try it again?  Yes.  Would I ship it all the way from California to try it again.  Probably not.

Found: South Bay Drugs, Imperial Beach, CA (Mail Order)
Price: 5 dollars a bottle
Website: http://www.portbrewing.com/
What the company says: Nothing on the site about this one.
ABV%: 9.50%
Other beers to try from this brewery: Port Brewing Hop-15, Port Brewing Old Viscocity
Other beers to try within the same style: Clipper City Small Craft Warning, Samuel Adams Imperial Pilsner
Rating: B