Sunday, December 18, 2016

Uinta Hop Nosh Tangerine IPA

This 7.3% ABV India Pale Ale is from the Uinta Brewing Company of Salt Lake City, Utah. It is made using tangerine zest. 


The beer pours a sparkling light copper and amber in color. There is a half-inch head of white foam that leaves a curtain of sticky lacing on the glass. The aroma is citrus, tangy, tangerine, juicy, with a bit of tropical fruit. The taste is very tangy and juicy, citrus, tangerine, zest. The finish is dry and quite bitter, like biting into a grapefruit, rind and all. The beer drinks very smooth with a soft tingling of carbonation.  


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Uinta Pale Ale

This 4.0% ABV Pale Ale is from the Uinta Brewing Company of Salt Lake City, Utah. Their brewery uses solar and wind power.

The beer pours dark amber and copper in color. There is a tall, thick, foamy head of off-white. The aroma is fairly mild, citrus and caramel malts. The taste is the same, caramel malt, citrus, a bit of tea with lemon. The finish is dry with light bitterness. The beer drinks very refreshing, carbonated, yet smooth. This is mild, refreshing, enjoyable, and very crushable.  


Friday, December 16, 2016

Toppling Goliath Tsunami Pale Ale

The Toppling Goliath Brewing Company is in Decorah, Iowa. They make the best beers in Iowa, and some of the best beers in the country. This is a 5.0% ABV pale ale.


The beer pours a crystal clear amber in color. There is a tall, thick, foamy head of off-white. The aroma is citrus, mango skin, a bit of muskiness, and iced tea. The taste follows the aromas note for note, like a strong, quality, iced tea with lemon and mango. The finish is very dry and moderately bitter. The beer drinks smooth and easy with a tingle of carbonation. This is really, really good!

(there's some great label art on beer cans these days, but so many are now wraparounds, and can't get a picture that does justice)


Friday, December 9, 2016

Toppling Goliath Sosus DIPA

The Toppling Goliath Brewing Company is in Decorah, Iowa. They make the best beers in Iowa, and some of the best beers in the country. This is their 8.0% ABV Double India Pale Ale featuring the Mosaic hop. 


The beer pours a deep, clean dark golden in color. There is a very tall head of thick white foam, and it is well carbonated. The aroma is a blast of tropical fruit, lots of mango and passion fruit, ripe, musky, dank, with citrus tang. The taste follows the aromas, an intense blast of all the same tropical, fruit, and musky notes. The finish is dry and moderately bitter. The beer drinks very, very smooth, with a soft, fine, but still tingling carbonation. This is an awesome blast of flavor.  


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Barley John's Wild Brunette

This 7.2% ABV brown ale is made using wild rice, and is from Barley John's Brewing. Their brewpub is in New Brighton, Minnesota, but their cans come from their facility in New Richmond, Wisconsin (which due to Byzantine various state alcohol laws, allows them to sell their cans in Minnesota, which they could not do from their own brewpub).

The beer pours a dark brown with dark ruby tints. There is a half-inch of light tan, creamy head. The aroma is sweet and nutty, caramel, dark fruits, hazel nut and toasted wild rice. The taste follows the aromas, sweet, fruity and nutty. The finish is dry, clean, and moderately bitter. The beer drinks very easy with light carbonation. This is a pleasant beer. 

Ommegang Game of Thrones Valar Dohaeris

This 9.0% ABV Belgian-style tripel ale is from the Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York. Ommegang is part of the Duvel family, and is essentially a Belgian brewery plopped down in New York State. It is one of their special releases tied to the HBO television series Game of Thrones. This is the counter saying to the coin (and beer) Valar Morghulis, a saying in High Valyrian meaning "all men must die," that when spoken guarantees you assistance from any person from Braavos. Valar Dohaeris means "all men must serve."


The beer pours a hazy very dark golden. There is an inch of raggedly foamy white head. The aroma is sweet, fruity and floral yeast esters, tangy and bright. The taste follows the aromas, a very balanced blending of sweet, tangy, and floral. There is a moderate floral bitterness on the finish. The beer drinks easy and smooth, with a tingling of carbonation. This is very nicely done, one of the tastiest that they have had in this series.  


Friday, November 25, 2016

Summit Unchained Batch 23 Zingiber Cream Ale

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. Batch 23 is a 5.3% ABV cream ale brewed with ginger.


The beer pours a hazed dark golden. There is a half-inch of white head. The aroma is very zesty and bright, full of ginger. The taste is a blast of ginger over toasted grain. The beer drinks smooth, but with crisp refreshment. The finish is very dry and moderately bitter. This is simple, straightforward, pleasant, refreshing, cleansing on the palate. I would love to drink this with Asian food.  


Lagunitas Stoopid Wit

This is a 6.3% ABV limited release wit beer from the Lagunitas Brewing Company of Petaluma, California (and now with a brewery in Chicago, Illinois). 


The beer pours a lightly hazed deep golden. There is an inch of white, foamy head. The aroma is a bit tart, a bit toasted, fruity, citrus, floral/herbal. The taste follows the aromas, very floral, tangy, over toasted wheat. The finish is astringently dry and fairly bitter. The beer drinks with quenching carbonation.

  

Fair State Coop Roselle

The Fair State Brewing Cooperative is in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is a 3.3% ABV sour ale with hibiscus.

The beer pours a reddish dark pink in color. There is a short-lived fizzy head of white. The aroma is tart, vinous, with a tangy, fruity, hibiscus tea note. The taste follows the aromas note for note. The tart, light grain, and fruity hibiscus are in perfect harmony. The beer drinks soft, but with fine, but full carbonation. This is wonderful!


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Surly Ten

The Surly Brewing Company originated in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, and now also has a destination brewery in Minneapolis. This was the special release for their tenth anniversary year. It is an old ale aged on toasted sassafras. 


The beer pours a very dark brown with dark ruby. There is a short head of tan head. The aroma is bright, tangy, dark fruits, dark caramels and toffee, a bit of pine, and herbal with the sassafras. The taste follows the aromas, but richer, deeper, lots of caramel, toffee and dark fruits, still the astringency and tang of light pine, along with the herbal of the sassafras. It is sweet, but finishes nearing dry. It is also spicy in the finish, but with low bitterness. The beer drinks warming, smooth, with a body whose weight is up to the full flavors without being overly heavy. This is a very nice old ale.


Northgate Wall's End Brown Ale

This 4.8% ABV brown ale is from Northgate Brewing of the Northeast area of Minneapolis, Minnesota. They are now canning many of their beers. 


The beer pours dark copper, medium-dark brown in color. There is a short and thin head of light tan. The aroma is toasted, roasted, nutty, with a tang of dark plums. The taste is very dark toasted and roasted, giving a note akin to light peat smoke, in which the dark plum is present, but tends to get lost. The finish is dry and moderately bitter with a metallic tang. It seems like an off-note, but as I drink it may just be a smokey tang, and it fits better. The beer drinks easy with tingling carbonation.  


Genesee Cream Ale

Every once in awhile I have a beer I have not had in awhile, but am surprised that it has been so long that it is not on this blog.  This beer is one of those beers. Genesee Cream Ale was introduced in 1960. The Genesee Brewing Company is from Rochester, New York.  It was founded in 1878 and has always been on of America's largest regional breweries.  High Falls Brewery purchased Genesee in 1990. In addition to the Genesee beers, the GBC also does a lot of contract brewing. 

The beer pours a very clear dark golden in color. There is an inch of white, foamy head, relatively long-lasting for the style. The aroma is tangy green apple, vegetable/grain mush, and some wet cardboard. The taste is bland and mild, watered down hot cereal, light note of tangy apple, with less cardboard/chemical than the aroma. There is essentially no bitterness in the finish. The beer drinks with ample carbonation. This is tolerable from the can, not as good poured into a glass.  


An old, blurry picture of this beer in a bottle:

Lagunitas 12th of Never Ale

This is 5.5% ABV from the Lagunitas Brewing Company of Petaluma, California (and now with a brewery in Chicago, Illinois). It comes in a 12 pack of cans.


The beer pours a hazy golden in color. There is nearly an inch of white, foamy head. The aroma is dank, with mango skin and citrus. The taste follows the aromas, dank and citrusy, with mango skin and a bit of passion fruit. The beer drinks easy with crisp carbonation. The finish is dry and lightly to moderately bitter. This is a nice drinkable ale.  


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Surly Darkness 2016

The Surly Brewing Company originated in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, and now also has a destination brewery in Minneapolis. Darkness is their annual special Russian Imperial Stout release.

The beer pours jet black. There is over an inch of light brown head, thick and foamy. The aroma is dark roasted malts and dark fruit, raisins, prunes, sweet, yet charred, along with some dark chocolate. The taste follows the aromas, hitting all the same notes, darkly fruity and roasted. There is sweetness, but it comes to a finish that is just more dry than sweet, with a moderate bitterness. The beer drinks with a very silky smoothness. The way this drinks, I really hope I get a chance to get the barrel-aged version of it. This is very nicely done, but compared to past vintages I have been able to try, this one just lacks the same oomph and complexities of flavor. It does have perhaps the best mouthfeel though.


 

Insight Sunken City

This 7.8% ABV saison brewed with sauvignon blanc grapes is from Insight Brewing of Minneapolis, Minnesota. It's full name is "In the Halls of the Sunken City."

The beer pours a pure golden in color. There is a very short head of white foam. The aroma is very floral, with yeast and tangy white wine grapes. The taste follows the aromas, there is a sweet, golden grain base, followed by ample floral tones, ending with yeasty esters and the tang of white wine. The finish has a moderate bitterness. The beer is very smooth, drinking easy.

 

F-Town Faribo Lager

This 4.7% ABV lager is from F-Town Brewing of Faribault, Minnesota.
The beer pours a lightly hazed dark golden. There is a short and not long-lasting head of white. The aroma is malty, bread dough, lightly tangy, just a touch of caramel. The taste follows the aromas, a malty lager with just a bit of bread dough and very light citrus tangy, ending with a soft grassy bitterness. The beer drinks very easy with crisp carbonation that is not too intense. This is an okay lager that is just a bit too tangy on the finish.

Barley John's Old 8 Porter

This 8.0% ABV is from Barley John's Brewing. Their brewpub is in New Brighton, Minnesota, but their cans come from their facility in New Richmond, Wisconsin (which due to Byzantine various state alcohol laws, allows them to sell their cans in Minnesota, which they could not do from their own brewpub).

The beer pours black in appearance, with an inch of thick, foamy, light brown head, velvety on top. The aroma is very chocolatey, dark roasted malt, light char, sweet and milky. The taste follows the aromas, there is sweetness, but the finish is mostly dry and quite bitter. There is some smokey char in the aftertaste. The beer drinks light and smooth, it is hard to believe it is 8% ABV. I do wish it had a bit more body for its big flavors.

Castle Danger Castle Cream Ale

This 5.3% ABV cream ale is from the Castle Danger Brewery of Two Harbors, Minnesota.

The beer pours a clear and light amber in color. There is a relatively short head of off-white foam. The aroma is malty, with a light whiskey cocktail note, and light sweet potato. The taste is also malty, caramel, light sweet potato, and light notes of dark fruit. The beer drinks smooth and easy with a tingling of soft carbonation. This is malty, mild and nicely drinkable.

 
 
 


Bent Paddle Roof Rack Lager

This 5.7% ABV Vienna-style lager is from the Bent Paddle Brewing Company of Duluth, Minnesota.

The beer pours honey golden and a light amber in color. There is a short head of white to off-white head. The aroma is light, a touch of caramel malt, touch of fruit, touch of nut, with a very light herbal note. The taste follows the aromas, fruity and malty. The finish is dry and tangy, with a light to moderate bitterness. The beer is easy drinking.

Able Supergiant Golden Ale

This 5.2% ABV golden ale is from the Able Seedhouse + Brewery of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The founders wanted to remind people that they are "able" to accomplish the making and building of things. The can: Begin before you don't.

The beer pours golden and honey, lightly hazed. There is a half-inch of white foam. The aroma is tangy, fruity, grapes, lightly floral, over bread dough. The taste follows the aromas, hitting the same notes, there is some sweetness, but the beer has a very dry and moderately bitter finish. The beer drinks crisp and very refreshing.

 


Insight Lambton Dragon

This 4.1% ABV session ale is from Insight Brewing of Minneapolis, Minnesota. It's full name is "The Return of the Lambton Dragon."

The beer pours a sparkling, clear, amber and copper. There is a short and short-lasting head of off-white. The aroma is light, caramel and toffee, light plum fruit. The taste follows the aromas, a light and delicate toffee and fruit. The finish is dry with moderate bitterness. The beer drinks smooth with soft carbonation. The is a nice English style session ale.



Hamm's Special Light

For the backstory of Hamm's, check out this post of mine. Hamm's is one of my favorite "cheap" beers, and I wanted to do a separate posting on the much harder to find Special Light. I also wanted to do a separate posting on retrying the Golden Draft, but found it no longer available in southern Minnesota where I used to find it.

The beer pours a light yellow golden. There is an inch of white head, not particularly long-lasting. The aroma is grain, malt o' meal cereal, a touch of grass, and a bit of wet cardboard and very light green apple. The taste follows the aromas, and it tastes better straight out of the can. The beer guzzles easy, with a stinging, but refreshing, carbonation. This isn't great, but straight out of the can, it is actually one of the better adjunct light lagers out there, way better than Bud Light.

It is fair to say I liked it more in 2011 than now. What has changed more, me or the beer?  This beer pours a very pale, sun bleached straw, light golden in color.  There is a small white head that rapidly dissipates.  The aroma is a very light grain, some apple, a touch of citrus and a touch of lagerish hops.  The taste is light, crisp, clean, a little grain, a tiny touch of lager funk and hop bitterness.  I think this might actually be a bit more flavorful than the regular.  It is well carbonated and gives a refreshing sting on the back of the throat.

Templeton Rye Special Reserve 10th Anniversary Rye Whiskey

I tweeted out recently that I had made the biggest bottle purchase splurge of my life when I picked up this 10th Anniversary Templeton Rye. A reply to the tweet suggested that I review it. As you can see, this blog is basically entirely devoted to beer. But, as this will be a hard bottle for people to try due to its limited availability, and because so many great craft beers are aged in TR barrels, I thought I would take the suggestion. This is my amateur attempt at a whiskey review. I refer you to the TR website linked above for their backstory, but I have enjoyed their rye since their very first release, which was part of what compelled me to get this bottle.  It was one of only two for sale at my local liquor store. In talking to staff one day about whether they would get any of the 10 year release, I found out their bottles were expected in the next day. I was luckily able to stop in around the time of their expected arrival and get one.

The whiskey has a clear, bright, yet deep copper color. The aroma is intense, but pleasant; toasted oak, dark caramel, dark cherries, vanilla. The aromas hang together in a very cogent whole. The taste is deep, rich, with a touch of implied smokiness (this isn't a peat smoked Scotch after all), but with an intense fruitiness, mostly dark cherry, along with caramels, and some vanilla. To the extent there is oak in the flavor, it is toasted and aged, not at all astringent or tangy like fresh oak. There is also an intense spicy note, that comes through even more in the aftertaste than in the original taste. It is very, very warming, but it is over 100 proof.
 
Due to the high proof, I decided to add a little water and see if it made any changes. Doing so leaves the aroma intact, just not quite as hotly intense. It also leaves the flavors intact, just dialing down the heat a notch, letting them all shine and unify into an intensely pleasurable whole. With the heat dialed down, an element of liquid honey is felt in the mouth.

Wow. The aroma to this is brilliant. The first taste is as akin to a fine single malt Scotch as any rye I have ever had. The flavors are terrific, and while the proof is high, a splash of water allows everything to merge together in something that approaches perfection, perhaps as close as we are allowed in our earthly coil.


I got the lidded whiskey nosing glasses in a promotion from Glenmorangie 24 years ago when I was in Scotland. I figured I would use my fanciest glassware for the "fanciest" bottle I ever bought.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Bell's Roundhouse

This 7.5% ABV India Red Ale brewed with honey is from the Bell's Brewery of Comstock, Michigan. It was originally draft only, but this special release was put in cans for September 2016 release.

The beer pours a very deep and dark amber, copper, and dark red. There is nearly an inch of off-white to light tan head. The aroma is malty, toasted caramel, with dark fruit. The taste follows the aromas, fruity, malty, caramel, toasted, sweetness from rich honey. The finish is semi-sweet, semi-dry, moderately bitter. The beer drinks smooth, round, with a soft tingling of carbonation. The honey and malt in this are nice, but where is the hoppy end the can describes? This was canned on August 31, 2016, and I only got it a few weeks ago; perhaps it was better fresher? As I finish this beer, I have to say, as a malty, honeyed sweet beer, it is great, I was just surprised from its description that there was not also a hoppy edge (the website indicates drinking fresher is better on this).