Sunday, September 22, 2013

Blaugies La Moneuse

The Brasserie de Blaugies is in Dour, Belgium. This is a tiny micro brewery working out of the garage of a pair of Belgian school teachers. According to the bottle, this beer is named for A.J. Moneuse (b. 1768), a famous local bandit and gang leader and ancestor of the brewers' family. It is 8.0% ABV.

The beer pours a hazy copper and orange in color. There is a massive, bubbling, foamy head that is just off-white in color. The aroma is tangy, yeasty, floral, straw, bread dough, earth, a bit of damp rotting log. The taste is semi-sweet, caramel, bread, flowers, tangy. The finish is quite dry and a bit bitter. It is well and finely carbonated. This is a very nice saison.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pretty Things Our Finest Regards

The Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project is based out of Somerville, Massachusetts.  They are a tenant brewer, not owning their own brewery, but renting others' brewing equipment. This 12.1% ABV barleywine style ale was brewed and bottled in Westport, Massachusetts.

The beer pours a dark chestnut and amber, nearing ruby. There is a half inch of thick and creamy off-white to very light brown foam. The aroma is malty, toasted, dark roasted, oaky, some sweetness, creamy and milky. The taste is dark roasted malt, coffee, some dark chocolate, oaky, and creamy. The finish is semi-sweet, bittersweet, moderately bitter, medium bodied, with just enough carbonation. This is a barley wine that drinks like a stout. Very nice.

Rogue Morimoto Imperial Pilsner

Rogue Ales are from Newport, Oregon. They make a few beers in conjunction with celebrity Iron Chef Morimoto. This 8.8% ABV pilsner is made with pilsner malt, Rogue micro hopyard Independence hops, free range coastal water and Czech pilsner yeast (I understand how a chicken can be "free range", but how can water be?).

The beer pours golden and yellow in color. There is a relatively short head of pure white foam. The aroma is light, grass and grain. The taste is light grain, very light straw, grassy, a touch of honey and a touch of peat, with an extremely bitter finish. The mouthfeel is thick, yet nearly watery at the same time, it perhaps could use a little more carbonation. I am not sure whether I am liking this one too much, I like a cleaner pilsner, with more straw and lager funkiness. 

Rogue Farms Honey Kolsch

Rogue Ales are from Newport, Oregon. This beer is made using honey from the Rogue hopyards and includes malts from the Rogue barley farm.

The beer pours yellow golden in color, clear, with lots of fine carbonation on the glass. There is an inch of thick pure white head. The aroma is grassy, honey, floral, bread dough. The taste follows the aromas directly hitting malt notes, then honey, then hop notes. It is semi-sweet, but with a dry and moderately bitter finish.  A very nice take on a kolsch.

Boulder Flashback India-Style Brown Ale

The Boulder Beer Company is in Boulder, Colorado. This beer combines a brown ale with an IPA and is 6.8% ABV. It was first brewed for their 30th anniversary and is now a regular in their lineup.

The beer pours chestnut brown and dark copper with an orange-amber tint. There is a short head of light brown foam. The aroma is dark roasted malt, dark caramel, orange, mocha, with a touch of sweet, fragrant flowers. The taste follows the aromas with dark roasted malts and lots of orange. It has a fairly bitter finish.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Coney Island Human Blockhead

Coney Island Craft Lagers beers are brewed by the Shmaltz Brewing Company of Saratoga Springs, New York. The Coney Island beers are all named after side show acts and proceeds benefit Coney Island USA.  There is much more information at their website. The label reminds of the Jim Rose Circus Side Show back in the grunge days.

This is a 10% ABV Imperial American bock that uses 2-row, Munich and Vienna malts, Wheat and Crystal Rye, along with Warrior, Tettnang, Crystal, Liberty, and Cascade hops. The beer pours a deep copper, chestnut brown, adding a tint of garnet. There is a tall head of thick light brown foam. The aroma is sweet, yet tangy, dark roasted malts, caramel, sweet potato, prune juice and cherry juice. The taste is all the malts of the aromas, along with tobacco and dates, woody, that is immediately smacked upside the head by dry and bitter hops. The high alcohol provides a warming effect. Now, it's not like hammering a nail in your nostril, but this packs quite the wallop of flavor and alcohol. Try it if you dare, but it may turn you into a side show freak!

La Vermontoise

This is a collaboration between the Hill Farmstead Brewery of Greensboro, Vermont and the Brasserie de Blaugies of Dour, Belgium. The Blaugies is a tiny micro brewery working out of the garage of a pair of Belgian school teachers. Hill Farmstead traveled to Belgium to brew this beer with them. This is a saison brewed with spelt (an ancient grain used in the Blaugies Saison d'Epeautre) and Amarillo hops.

The beer pours a hazed pale yellow, looking sun bleached. There is a massive, bubbling, foaming white head. The aroma is grassy, fresh straw, earthy, floral, funky, but not sour. The taste follows the aromas quite directly. It is heavily and finely carbonated, champagne-like. It drinks very refreshing, with a dry, and moderately bitter finish. This is very nice, but I like the regular Saison d'Epeautre better.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

To Ol Mine Is Bigger Than Yours

This is a 12.5% ABV barelywine from To Ol, with the beer brewed and bottled at De Proef Brouwerij at Lochristi-Hijfte, Belgium. An original partner with the two guys behind Tool was Mikkel (think Mikkeller).

The beer pours a very dark amber, to chestnut brown in color. There is an inch of thick, almost creamy head, very light brown that leaves some thick lacing on the glass. The aroma is dried fruits, molasses, tobacco, strong tea and tangy tropical fruits, so ripe they are nearing rotting. The taste follows the aromas, it is hard to pick out individual notes, they are melded and blended well together.  It is a bit spicy, and the alcohol is apparent and warming. It has a nice full and smooth mouthfeel. This is a nice bareleywine.  It doesn't hit you over the head, but is full of flavor and makes an enjoyable experience.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Leinenkugel's Hoppin' Helles

Leinenkugel's Brewing Company is from  Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.  They began brewing in 1867. Leinenkugel's has been owned by Miller for some time now (who is now owned by MolsonCoors). This is a 5.5% ABV helles lager brewed with five varieties of hops that include Simcoe and Citra.

The beer pours dark golden, with honey and orange tints. There is a tall, very thick head of pure white foam. The aroma is zesty, citrusy, floral, grassy, crackers and bread dough.  The taste follows the aromas, adding in golden toasted grain, a tangy note, followed by a bitter finish. It is well carbonated and very refreshing. This is highly drinkable.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Brasserie de Blaugies Saison d'Epeautre

This is a bottle conditioned saison brewed with spelt from the Brasserie de Blaugies of Dour, Belgium. This is a tiny micro brewery working out of the garage of a pair of Belgian school teachers. The beer is 6.0% ABV. Spelt is an ancient species of wheat that was in common use from the Bronze Age to Medieval times.

Whoa! The cork explodes out of the bottle. The beer pours yellow golden in color with a swirl of champagne like carbonation. There is a massively tall head of bubbling, boiling, foaming white. The aroma can be smelled a yard from the bottle. It is full of straw, earthy, grassy, funky, grainy, toasted, yeasty. The taste is toasted wheat, citrusy, yeasty, grassy, zesty, tangy, earthy, lightly herbal, with mineral notes and straw. It is finely and fully carbonated, champagne like. The finish is dry and clean. Wow, go out and get this right now, it is mind-blowing good!

Cathedral Square Repent Rye

This is a barleywine style ale from the Cathedral Square Brewery of Weston, Missouri. The bottle claims this is divine beer turning sinners into saints. The beer pours a very dark brown, mahogany and ruby. There is an inch of thick and creamy light brown foam that leaves thick lacing on the glass. The aroma is dates, raisins, tobacco, dark cherries, molasses and strong tea. The taste follows the aromas and adds the earthy spice of rye, and some dark bitter chocolate and coffee notes of very roasted malt. The finish is fairly bitter and dry, immediately knocking down any chance of sweetness from the heavy malts.

Squatters Hop Rising Double India Pale Ale

This 9.0% ABV beer is from Squatters Beers, part of the Utah Brewers Cooperative of Salt Lake City, Utah. It has 75 IBU's. The beer pours copper and amber with orange tones.  It has a medium head of light brown foam that leaves thick and sticky lacing down the glass.  The aroma is hop forward, spicy and funky, with some melon and grapefruit, and a solid malty base.  The taste is overripe melon, funky, fruity and roasted and caramel, smooth malt.  The alcohol is apparent. The finish is fairly dry and quite bitter. Big, round and bold.

Boulder Mojo IPA

The Boulder Beer Company is in...drumroll please...Boulder, Colorado. This India Pale Ale is 7.2% ABV and uses Amarillo hops.

The beer pours dark golden, yet bright, with a bit of orange tint. There is an inch of thick white head. The aroma is a blast of citrus zest, slightly funky, with an undertone of overripe cantaloupe. The taste is zesty and citrusy, melons and very light tropical fruit, and a funky note riding in it all like a small surfer in a big wave. The finish is quite dry and fairly bitter, appropriate to the style, and like biting grapefruit skin. It drinks pretty easy and is refreshing.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Duvel Tripel Hop 2013 Sorachi Ace

This 9.5% ABV beer is from Duvel Moortgat Brewery of Belgium.  In 2011 they had a special edition Tripel Hop.  Duvel is generally brewed with two hops, Saaz Saaz and Styrian Golding. Their tripel hop adds a third, which is now changing each year. This year it is the Sorachi Ace hop from Japan, which is also added in the dry hopping.

The beer pours a slightly hazy yellow golden in color. There is a very large, bubbling head of very white foam. The aroma is grassy, floral, tangy citrus, zesty, herbal, grassy, bread dough, banana and papaya. The taste is tangy and citrus, tropical fruits, over sourdough bread. The finish is very dry with a moderate bitterness. It is highly and finely carbonated. It is amazing how refreshing and drinkable they can make a 9.5% ABV beer.

Summit Unchained 13 Another IPA

The Summit Brewing Company is in St. Paul, Minnesota and has been making craft beer since 1986.  This is part of their Unchained Series of limited release special batch beers. Number 13 in the series is a 5.6% ABV British-style India Pale Ale. 

The beer pours a lightly hazy golden yellow in color. There is a tall head of thick, egg-white like foam. The aroma is citrusy, grassy, floral, bread dough. The taste follows the aromas directly. The finish is dry and quite bitter, giving off grapefruit rind. It is quite carbonated, burp central on this one. Another IPA is another solid beer from Summit.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sierra Nevada Flipside Red IPA

This is a seasonal release from the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company of Chico, California. It is 6.2% ABV that uses whole cone Citra, Simcoe and Centennial hops.

The beer pours a deep, dark copper and amber in color, turning almost garnet, with a relatively short, but, thick and creamy off-white head. The aroma is hop forward, citrusy, piney, funky, zesty, spicy, over a solid caramel malt base. The hops are a bit more subdued in the taste than in the aroma, with the malt being quite strong as well. The finish is quite bitter, but zesty at the same time. It is nicely and refreshingly carbonated. Sierra Nevada is consistent and well-skilled at turning out solid, tasty and always highly drinkable beers.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Rogue XS Old Crustacean Barleywine

Rogue Ales are from Newport, Oregon. This barleywine comes in at 11.5% ABV and a big 110 IBU's. It is the 2012 vintage. The beer pours a very dark and dense amber in color. There is over an inch of off-white head, thick, yet bubbly, creamy, yet foamy. The aroma is lots of roasted malt, caramel, sweetness, fruity, some tartness, wood, dates. The taste follows the aromas, massive malt, lots of caramel, sweet, yet immediately cut off by massive bitterness, wood, dried dark fruits, and a touch of molasses. The finish is very dry. There are light fruity notes that bounce up out of all the malt and bitterness. A solid barleywine.

Widmer Okto Festival Ale

Widmer Brothers Brewing is from Portland, Oregon. This beer is a seasonal Oktoberfest release that comes in at 5.3% ABV.

The beer pours a crystal clear copper in color. There is a short head of off-white to very light brown ale that leaves some sticky and clinging lacing on the glass.   The aroma is malty, roasted and toasted, caramel.  The taste is very malty, a touch of caramel, roasted, toasted, rich.  The finish is lightly to moderately bitter, a bit grassy, dry. This has great malty flavors that come to an abrupt finish, a classic Oktoberfest style beer!

Peak Weiss Principal Ale

This 8.6% ABV beer is from the Peak Organic Brewing Company of Portland, Maine. According to the bottle this is the international love child of a Hefe-Weiss and an American Double IPA. It is an unfiltered wheat beer using traditional German Weiss yeast, and then dry hopped with American hops. Sounds very intriguing.

The beer pours amber, orange and honey golden in color. There is a tall foamy head that is off-white in color. The aroma is floral, earthy, spicy, yeasty and fruity, with citrus and overripe tropical fruit. The taste follows the aromas, there is a large, round, fruity sweetness, that is immediately cut down by a large dose of bitterness, grassy and grapefruit, with a pungent floral yeastiness. There is also some bread dough in the mix. It is fairly full-bodied, with a noticeable carbonation. The finish is dry and bitter. Interesting and worth trying.

New Belgium Pumpkick

This is a new fall seasonal from the New Belgium Brewing Company of Fort Collins, Colorado. It is 6.0% ABV and is brewed with pumpkin juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cranberries and lemongrass. I hope its flavor makes me happier than that poor jack-o-lantern getting his a$& kicked on the bottle.

The beer pours a clear copper in color. There is a short head of off-white foam. The aroma is spices mostly, over a solid caramel malty base, roasted and toasted. The taste is spices, light pumpkin, a roasted caramel maltiness, a bit of cranberry tang. The lemongrass blends in with the other spices. This doesn't rock my world much, I wouldn't return to it.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Lift Bridge Commander

The Lift Bridge Brewing Company is from Stillwater, Minnesota. This is a 12.5% English-style barley wine that is brewed using cardamom and then aged in bourbon barrels. This is bottle number 3403 from 2012. According to the bottle, it is "goblet worthy" and should be consumed by 2020. It takes its name from the Commander grain elevator in Stillwater.

The beer pours a dark amber in color, veering towards garnet. There is a relatively short head of off-white foam. The aroma is spicy, cardamom at the forefront, sweet, tangy and woody. The taste is dark caramel, cardamom, vanilla, oak, sweet, spicy and woody. The bourbon barely registers, showing up not as bourbon, but as oak and vanilla. The finish is dry and lightly bitter in a woody way, yet the sweetness lingers too. It is full bodied, veering towards syrupy, but staying drinkable.

Alas, I would love to try this without cardamom and with a bit longer in the bourbon barrels. To me, it is unbalanced and overwhelmed by the cardamom spice to the detriment of its other flavors.  Maybe it will be better in 2019.

Evil Twin Justin Blabaer

OMG! This 4.5% ABV beer made with blueberries is a collarboration between Evil Twin and Westbrook Brewing. Evil Twin Brewing has its origins in Denmark, but its beers are actually brewed at ten different breweries around the world. This beer was produced and bottled at Westbrook Brewing Co.,Mount PleasantSouth Carolina

The beer pours salmon colored, or the color of rose champagne. There is a tall half-inch of white head. The aroma is fruit forward, berries, blueberry, and to me, a good amount of raspberry too, all over toasted wheat. The taste is tart, yet sweet berries over toasted wheat. It is moderately carbonated and rather thin. This is underwhelming. 

Boulevard KC Pils

The Boulevard Brewing Company is in Kansas City, Missouri.  They have been brewing since 1989. This beer benefits their hometown, donating 10% of the sales of this beer to local charities. The beer is 4.8% ABV and it uses the following malts; pale, pilsner, Munich, and Cara 50, and the following hops; Perle, Magnum, and Saaz.

The beer pours a clear and pure golden yellow in color. There is a tall, thick, fizzy and foamy white head, with moderate retention. The aroma is grassy, a bit spicy, grain and straw. The taste is rich golden malt, grass, a bit of straw, with some sweetness, but also a crisp and moderately bitter finish. It drinks easy, but has a nice smooth and full mouthfeel. This is a very nice American pilsner, but then again, Boulevard is always solid.

2017: New bottle art, matching the Royals, and saying it is the team's official craft beer. It is now 4.9% ABV. The beer pours a dark golden to light amber in color. There is a half-inch of white head, not long-lasting. The aroma is bready, slightly sweet, hay, toasted malt. The taste follows the aromas, well toasted grain, slightly sweet breadiness, and a lightly bitter grassy finish. The beer drinks smooth, with soft, tingling carbonation. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Oude Gueuze Tilquin A'l'ancienne

This is a 6.4% ABV spontaneous fermentation ale from Gueuzerie Tilquin in Rebecq, Belgium. They take and blend beers from other Belgian breweries, in this case mixing lambics (brewed with wild yeasts) that are one, two and three years old. This beer is unpasteurized, unfiltered, and refermented in the bottle.

The beer pours copper, amber and orange golden in color. There is a relatively short head of pure white foam, somewhat thick, but fairly quick to dissipate. The aroma is funky, tart, earthy, woody, sour and a touch floral. The taste follows the aromas directly and ends with a mouth puckering and lip smacking tartness, like a pleasant vinegar, but balanced out by all the other flavors. It is exquisitely dry, yet refreshing. Master blenders indeed, this is perfectly balanced. One of the nicer sours I have tried.