Friday, May 31, 2013

Three Floyds Behemoth

The Three Floyds Brewing Company is in Munster, Indiana. Many of their beers are highly coveted by beer enthusiasts. The motto on their bottle? "It's Not Normal." This is a 10.5% ABV barleywine.

The beer pours a dark chestnut, deepest amber, burnt orange in color. It has an unearthly glow when held to the light. It is somewhat hazy. There is a short and relatively thin head of off-white to light brown foam. The aroma is a well blended meld of both hops and malt. There is a lot of orange and caramel, fruity, jammy, rich scones. The taste follows the aromas, big and bold, but smooth, lots of orange and caramel, and dense scone and biscuit sweet pastries. Some notes of passion fruit come through, but it is hard to tell what is predominant, hops or malt. I will give a slight edge to the malt, but there are plenty of hops here. In the background is the spiciness of some tobacco and figs. The mouthfeel is substantial, chewy, but smooth. This behemoth can pick me up and body slam me anytime. I'll smack down with a smile on my face.

Flat 12 Bierwerks Pogue's Run Porter

This 5.5% ABV porter is from the Flat 12 Bierwerks of Indianapolis, Indiana. "Locally created in our neighborhood, locally consumed in yours." The drawn character on the bottle looks suspiciously like Shane McGowan, iconic lead singer of the Pogues.

The beer pours black in color, very deep mahogany with ruby tints when held to the light. It has a ridiculously big foamy head, cappuccino in color. The aroma is very dark roasted malt, coffee, dark pure cacao chocolate, with a fruity tang. The taste follows the aromas, very dark roasted, ground coffee, and dark chocolate. The finish is dry with a bit of a tang. The mouthfeel is overcarbonated. The taste on this is awesome, they just need to tame the foaming over carbonation this has out of the bottle. I would love to have this on tap.

Four Horsemen Brewing Company EPA

This is a 4.8% ABV English pale ale from the Four Horsemen Brewing Company of South Bend, Indiana. I picked this up in South Bend, just across the street from Notre Dame at Belmont Beverage. The label features the iconic picture of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish's "Four Horsemen" on horses. This was the moniker given to their backfield by a sportswriter in 1924 when Knute Rockne was coach.

The beer pours copper and amber in color. It has a tall head of thick and fizzing off-white foam. The aroma is malty, lightly nutty, grassy, with a yeasty tang. The taste follows the aromas directly. There is an underlying nuttiness, but the tangy yeastiness is the prevailing flavor. It finishes dry, with a moderate carbonation. This is too one-dimensional, too yeasty for the style, and it lacks any depth or complexity.

Triton Brewing Magnificent Amber

This 5.4% amber beer is from the Triton Brewing Company of Indianapolis, Indiana. The beer pours a very deep amber and dark chestnut in color. There is a short head that is off-white. The aroma is a wave of crisp grassy hops butting up against roasted, toasted, nutty malt. The taste follows the aromas, lots of roasted and toasted malt, nutty, hazelnut, dark caramel, and then grassy and bitter hops. It is lightly to moderately carbonated. It feels just a bit thin in the mouth, but nice flavors.

Josephs Brau Prost (Spring Prost)

This is a seasonal release from the Josephsbrau Brewing Company of San Jose, California (it is my understanding they are contract brewed by Gordon Biersch). It is a store brand of Trader Joe's. This is a 7.3% ABV Maibock style. "Prost" is a Germanic toast, like "cheers."

The beer pours a deep amber and copper in color. There is over an inch of thick and foamy head, off-white to very light brown. The aroma is malty, bready, rich, sweet potato. The taste follows the aromas, very malty, roasted and toasted, caramel, dark toffee, sweet potato, bready. There are enough hops that all that malt and relatively higher alcohol don't veer off into sweetness. It actually ends fairly dry. This is a pretty darn good Maibock, especially for its store brand price point.

2016: Well, they have changed the name to Spring Prost and changed the label art dramatically, but the beer is still very good for its price point.

The beer pours a dark copper and amber in color. There is nearly an inch of light tan foam. The aroma is malty, sweet potato, caramel, dark fruits. The taste follows the aromas note for note. There is sweetness from the malt, but enough hops to come to a mostly dry and moderately bitter finish. The beer drinks with a full body and fine, yet strong, carbonation.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Rogue XS Imperial India Pale Ale

Rogue Ales are from Newport, Oregon. It is 9.5% ABV and uses Newport, Bravo, Amarillo, and Centennial hops. The beer pours a hazy amber in color. There is over an inch of off-white thick foam. The aroma is fruity, citrus, lots of orange, a whiff of passion fruit, a touch of grass and a very light touch of earthy funkiness. The taste follows the aromas, lots of orange, all held up by ample malt that bears the load of the hops without taking the forefront. The finish is massively bitter, adding grapefruit peel. The beer is medium bodied, but drinks fairly easy considering its high alcohol and big flavors. This is a solid and tight Imperial IPA.

Hurricane Category 5

Malt liquor fans, this is a 8.1% ABV high gravity malt liquor from Anheuser-Busch. Not much else to say, let's just get right to it. The beer pours pure golden in color with a thin head of white foam. The aroma is sweet grain, corn, with a light note of circus peanuts candy (remember those weird orange candy foamy things shaped like giant peanuts?). The taste is sweet and alcohol, a little grain and even more circus peantus candy, with a burn of carbonation and booze. There are some light chemical notes in there for fun. Overall, just too sweet. As usual with this type of thing, it is better straight from the can when you can't smell it first. This one is purely for chugging ice cold to get drunk quick. I do really like the design on the can. It could be worse (see any Minhas or City Brewing high alcohol malt liquors).

Some slight variations in the 2015 can:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Aldaris Porteris

Aldaris is from Riga, Latvia. This is a 6.8% ABV porter, that the bottle describes as a "lager ale." Now, I am a beer drinker, not a beer brewer, but from what I know, that description is oxymoronic, a beer can be a lager, or it can be an ale, but it cannot be a "lager ale". Perhaps a bit of a bottle label translation problem. Somebody in Latvia is going to get fired.

The beer appears black in color, a dense and dark ruby when held to the light. There is a tall head of fizzy light brown foam that diminishes rapidly. The aroma is dark roasted malt with a mineral and lightly metallic tang on the end. The taste is sweet, yet bitter, dark roasted, yet tangy. There is some mocha, dark chocolate, herbal, bittersweet. It finishes quite dry. The carbonation is noticeable, but it has a rounded smoothness and is full-bodied without being thick. It has nice flavors, but in the end is just a tad too sweet for me.

Here is a bottle from 2010. Notice it only says "lager." So is this a porter or a black lager? Even Aldaris doesn't seem to know...

Blue Moon Proximity

This 8.5% ABV beer is from the Blue Moon Vintage Ale Collection. It is brewed with white wheat, Nelson Sauvin hops and the juice of sauvignon blanc grapes. The beer pours golden in color, and clear. There is a short head of white fizzy foam that disappears quickly. The aroma is of white wine, light toasted wheat, soda crackers. The wine notes have citrus, kiwi, very light passion fruit. The taste is of a rounded and softened white wine, sweet, yet tart, kiwi, honeydew, light lime. Tart, but smooth on the finish. It has the mouthfeel of a semi-sweet sparkling wine. Interesting, but not impressive. Dare I say it is like a high quality, and actually good, wine cooler? I got this one because I was more sure of it then the one with red wine grapes, but this gives me the confidence to try the red one, my guess is that it would be drinkable.

Corona Summer Promotion

My post where I attempt to definitively answer the internet mystery, is Corona Familiar just Corona in a big brown bottle or are they distinct beers, is one of my most viewed posts. Perhaps that is why Corona's marketing reached out to me and asked me to share their Corona Summer promotion. What is it?

Well, summer is finally arriving (however slowly and belatedly). Do you like to get outside? Do you like to have fun? Do you drink beer? Maybe a Corona on a hot summer day? Do you have the ability to take pictures (come on, I know you have a phone that takes pictures)? Then all you do is take pictures of you and your friends having summer fun and having some Coronas and send them in to the Corona summer website. If they like your photos, they may put them in their ads.

In addition, they have some swag to help promote this affair. They were gracious enough to be sending me some of the items. When they arrive, I will share them with either some readers here or maybe at some of those great summer fun events, the beer fest.

They are  hitting this on several platforms, here are all the links:
Corona Summer Site:  

And here are some of the items of swag provided by Corona: Beach blanket, iPod speakers, t-shirt (if you would like one of the items, send me an email at ):

Fire Island Lighthouse Ale

The Fire Island Beer Company has its beers brewed in Saratoga Springs, New York (probably contract brewed by the Olde Saratoga Brewing Company). The beer pours honey golden with an orange tint. There is a tall half-inch of thick foamy head, white to off-white. The aroma is malty, biscuity, with some jam-like fruitiness. The taste is a biscuit with tangy fruit jam. The finish is dry with just a touch of bitterness. This is an easy-drinking anytime with anything type of beer.

Game On Halfpipe Winter Lager

This 5.75% ABV beer is from the Game On Brewing Company of Glendale, Wisconsin.  It seems odd in this day and age that I don't find a website for them. They have a line of sports-themed beers.  This may be an offshoot of the Sprecher brewers (who also do Chameleon beers). 

The beer pours a very dark brown, mahogany, appearing almost black, some garnet when held to the light. There is a short head of creamy light brown foam. The aroma is malty, as much sweet potato as dark roast, with a bit of metallic, mineral tang. The taste follows the aromas. For its dark color, it tastes more Oktoberfest malty than the dark roasts expected. There is a tang on the finish. It is medium-bodied and smooth in the mouth.

Amstel Light

Amstel Light is from the Amstel Brouwerij B.V. in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It has 95 calories and has 3.5% ABV. The beer pours a pale, sun-bleached, yellow golden. There is a tall head of pure white foam. The aroma is lager funk, straw, grain and grass. Good aroma for such a light beer. Not surprisingly, it has a light and watery mouthfeel, the taste is not as strong as the aroma. The taste follows the aromas, but much lighter. The finish gets a bit tinny. It has a good aftertaste, the straw and lager funk come back more strongly than in the original flavor. If you must have a light beer, this is a pretty good option, more flavorful than most American "heavy" lagers from the big boys.


This is a 5.1% ABV pilsner style beer from Montevideo, Uruguay. It has been brewed since 1866. The beer pours yellow golden with over an inch of pure white thick foam. The aroma is grain, grassy, light floral, lightly sweet. The taste follows the aromas directly, grain, slightly sweet, tempered by light straw and some grassiness. There is a bit of an off-putting tart note in the finish. Drinkable for the style.

Firemans Brew Blonde Beer

The beers of Firemans Brew are brewed in Ukiah, California (indicates contract brewed by Mendocino Brewing Company). The brews were devised by two firefighters, and a portion of the profits are donated to causes that aid firefighters.

This 5.0% ABV pilsner-style lager pours a light honey golden in color. There is over an inch of pure white head that bubbles away fairly quickly. The aroma is somewhat sweet malted grain, then lightly floral, grassy and fruity. The taste follows the aromas quite directly, with just enough bitterness from the hops to quash the sweetness of the malt and come to a dry finish. It is medium bodied, crisply carbonated, yet smooth. It reminds me of a kolsch-style beer with its fruity tones and light sweetness. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Keg Creek Breakdown Brown

The Keg Creek Brewing Company is in Glenwood, Iowa. The brewery is named after a nearby creek which was originally named Five Barrel Creek for the illicit whiskey found there in the mid-1800's.

The beer pours a very, very dark brown. When held to the light it is ruby and garnet. There is a very tall head of light brown foam, thick and creamy and foamy. The aroma is dark roasted malt, light coffee and mocha, with a tangy grassiness. The taste follows the aromas, with a very dry and fairly bitter finish. It is very strongly carbonated, a bit too much. This is described as an "American" brown ale, with the "American" moniker indicating it is strongly hopped. It is that. 

Riley's Vixen Dark Wheat Ale

This 6.0% ABV dark wheat ale is from Riley's Brewing Company of Madera, California. Their labels feature semi-realistic, yet cartoonish versions of highly sexed women. The labeling makes me think gimmick, so their beer better be pretty solid to overcome the labeling. As of this post, their website is incomplete, so I don't know what their version of their story is yet. 

The beer pours a very dark brown mahogany, almost black, ruby when held to the light. There is a fizzy head of light brown foam that disappears quite rapidly. The aroma is dark roasted malt, with a metallic tang. The taste is dark roasted malt, smokey, coffee, dark chocolate, but with a terrible sour note. Take out the sour note, and this would be a very good beer. Better luck next time Riley's, because as is, this is a drain pour. 

I have tried three of their beers now, the IPA was decent, but this and Sancha were sour crap. Verdict? Gimmick, they are trying to sell a label right now, and not yet trying to sell beer.

Empyrean Winter Axis Festivale

The Empyrean Brewing Company is in Lincoln, Nebraska. This is a 6.0% ABV amber ale. The beer pours a hazy glowing amber in color. There is a relatively short head of off-white foam. The aroma is malty, both sweet and tart.  The taste is malty, fruity, yeasty. It is tangy and dry on the finish. The yeast imparts a Beglian-style note to this beer. 

Shipyard Prelude Special Ale

This 6.7% ABV English-style winter warmer is from the Shipyard Brewing Company of Portland, Maine. Obviously I am getting to it late, but it says best before November 2013, so still in plenty of time. It is  brewed with four different malts and four different hops. 

The beer pours a very dark amber to dark chestnut brown with light ruby tints. There is a tall head of thick and creamy light brown foam. The aroma is malty, caramel, nut, fruity, plums and dark fruits, with a light herbal note. The taste follows the aromas, malty, toffee, nut, light hazelnut, fruity, caramel, with a sneaky bitterness and dry finish. It has a medium body, somewhat creamy, with a "just right" amount of carbonation. This is rich, elegant and delicious.

Firemans Brew Redhead Ale

The beers of Firemans Brew are brewed in Ukiah, California (indicates contract brewed by Mendocino Brewing Company). The brews were devised by two firefighters, and a portion of the profits are donated to causes that aid firefighters.

This red amber ale is 5.5% ABV. It pours a dark chestnut or light mahogany brown, with light red tints. There is about an inch of creamy light brown head. The aroma is a combination of malty and hoppy, lots of caramel and roastiness, with pine and spice. The taste is malty, caramel and light fruitiness, a coffee bitterness, somewhat sweet, but with a tang, with a quite dry finish. This won't blow you away, but it has solid drinkability.

Sun King Brewery Sunlight Cream Ale

The Sun King Brewery is in Indianapolis, Indiana. Cream ales were once a popular style in America, particulalry in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. While like golden lagers, they tend to be a bit more fruity.This 5.3% ABV cream ale is brewed with barley, wheat and oats and American hops. 

The beer pours golden and yellow with over an inch of pure white head, slightly creamy, slightly frothy. The aroma is light, grain and wheat, lemony citrus and light fruit. The taste follows the aromas, light wheat and grain, a hint of sweetness, honey and lemon. It is medium bodied, smooth, but with the carbonation present, but subtle. 

Mad Anthony Gabby Blonde Lager

This 4.0% ABV lager is from the Mad Anthony Brewing Company of Fort Wayne, Indiana. It uses Czech Saaz hops and is brewed with corn in addition to its English lager malt. The beer pours yellow and golden, a bit hazy. There is a relatively short head of white and fizzy foam. The aroma is cracked corn, a touch sweet, some straw, and a bit of mellow grassiness. Alas, if only the taste were as good as the aroma. The taste is thin and watery with a sour note. I hope for the brewery's sake this bottle has gone off or was contaminated (not that that is a good thing), because this beer is undrinkable.