Saturday, April 30, 2011

Firestone Walker - double IPA

This my first experience with this brand as they just started distributing to the KC area. So far so good. I figure any beer that ranks a 100 on beer advocate is worth a try, if others like it that much, there is a very good chance that I will too. Granted I am a big person on "just because others like it, doesn't mean their tastes are the same as mine...". But this beer does not disappoint.
It pours a good golden amber that all good IPAs do, and I could tell from first smell that this was going to be a piney beer. It has a subtle smell of pines, but its a sharp pine if that makes any sense. You have a solid 2 finger head that leaves good lacing as you drink it.
On first taste I thought, yup that's an IPA... but then as I continued I realized there is much more to this beer than just being a simple IPA. It has a slightly heavier body than your average IPA, which gives the beer a good balanced flavor backbone. Since the body is a more rotund than other IPAs it can still be crisp and piney, but it lets the flavor of the beer really develop in your mouth as you take your drink. Sure it starts with hops and a resinous pine, but underneath it has a spicy undertone that I can't quite put my finger on... maybe a little ginger... whatever it is it has a sweet spice to it that is not to over bearing, but sits just right in the mix. For being a fairly high Abv drink when its cold you can't taste much booze. Its not till it comes to a decent room temp that you can really tell that by the time you finish the bomber, that you will know that you drank it all.
Granted this does taste similar to alot of other double IPAs, but it is a little more robust and sophisticated than alot of other examples in this genre. Its like sitting down with a glass of scotch and smoking a Cuban Cohiba cigar with it, rather than smoking a black and mild. Neither one is bad by any means, but when push comes to shove, one is going to more pleasing of an experience than the other... and one you are going to want to have again, and the other you will want simply when you need a "fix"...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Boulevard Imperial Stout refund

This is an example of why I still hold Boulevard above many other craft breweries. Sure my bottle of Imperail Stout cost the same as 3 Lagunitas bombers, but when faced with the fact that their beer was contaminated they are willing to give a full refund, even though they admit it is still a good beer and that it poses no threat to those consuming it... I cant see many companies actually doing that, and you really have to respect them for standing up and doing good by it.
I guess my bottle will be even more special when I open it in a year... who knows what I will get? It kind of makes me want to pick up a bottle of batch 1 somewhere and age it too for comparison.

here is the low down from Boulevard...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tallgrass Brewing - Halcyon wheat

I have a serious soft spot for unfiltered wheat beers, and this brew has been highly recommended by some friends of mine so I figured I would check it out... wow, am I glad o did.
So on first pour it seems almost identical to my local legend that is boulevard wheat. Huge head, really hazy, like can't see though it hazy, some citrus smell of lemon and orange, and a little dirt. I mean what good is a wheat beer if you can't taste the dirt it came from? Then I tasted it...
It seems like a adopted child to boulevard wheat. This is not a bad thing... The classic story of two brothers that think they are blood till the age of 21 and then mom gets drunk and lets the beans spill on their past. The two are still loved equally, but the differences between the two become obvious once the truth is out.
Both beers have same flavor back bone, but in a slightly different balance. Boulevard focuses a little more on the citrus aspect, where as tall grass seems to focus more on the earthy wheaty aspect of the brew.
Both are good but neither one is better perse', it just depends on the mood you are on that night. If you want a little more fruit, go with boulevard, if you want more wheat, go with the tall grass. This is definitely not a replacement for my classic stand by, it simply stands as an alternative when I want something a little different.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New Belgium - 1554 Enlightened Black Ale

I have had this beer many times before, and I never tire of it. This beer encapsulates everything I love about a black and tan, in one bottle, and with out actually being a black and tan...
This beer has a large aroma of malts and vanilla. Very earthy... it is accompanied by a huge, yet very light and froathy head that leaves pretty massive lacing behind.
Like I said before this is everything I ever wanted from a black and tan. A lightness that you can only get from an ale, but a dark robust creamyness that you can only find in a porter or stout. This beer blends the best of both sides. It is an earthy beer, while still being refreshing, and all while having a huge body. This is a beer that has won over a place in my heart as well as in my fridge. You may not be the zazziest beer or be the most expensive or rare or aged. You are just good... enough said.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Abita - strawberry harvest ale

My wife brought this back on her recent excursion to Memphis, on the recommendations of her coworkers in the area. And it would be a good recommendation if the beer finished the way I was hoping.
First off it poured much lighter than I was expecting... not sure why I figured it would be more brown, but its pretty light and hazy. Almost no head to be found on a fiarly heavy handed pour.
OK so the taste... it has that distinctive lager bite, with a big upfront strawberry taste. But here is where I would gone a different route. Its good but the strawberry is too much a topical flavor and not enough backbone flavor wise. There is a reason why alot of people decide to do fruit flavored beers as a wheat beer, it has a nice earthy undertone that works well with the fruits flavor. The lager just overpowers the strawberry, by the time that you get to the finish it just comes right back to the lager overpower. Not much fruit... if it had a rich strawberry finish this beer would be amazing and would have a permanent spot in my fridge when in season... but no it fails out... This beer still gets 3 stars... its still good... just not 4 or 5 star good...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Stone - Sublimely Self Righteous Ale

In celebration of this week being "stone week" here in KC, I figured I had to do atleast one review of a Stone brew. Thankfully I did not have to have this one shipped to me from my insider source within the brewery, but picked it up at my local liquor store for a price that kills alot of other breweries bombers. 6 bucks for a bomber is a killer deal for such a fantastic brew, and the fact that you can pick up the other so-cal craft brew great (lagunitas) bombers for around 5, even limited edition brews! Long story short, so-Cal beer is going to take over KC, and I hate to say it but, it may just give our KC giant a run for their money and may make them reconsider their 8 and up to 13 dollar bomber price...
OK so I'm supposed to be reviewing beer here aren't I?..
OK so it pours a really dark brown/red with a 2 finger head into the Stone Sniffer that was so generously provided by my in side wo-man. It smells of healthy hops, toffee and Carmel. At first the lacing seemed to be mid to light, but by the time that I was on my last snifter it was nothing but heavy. Like Michael J Fox heavy...
On the taste front, this is definitely a Stone brew. Big loud and proud. At first taste, my first thought was "damn, that's bitter", but it mellowed a good amount as I drank more and it warmed up, as did I. The flavor backbone mirrors the smell very close. It has a nice hoppy bitterness with a slight coffee,toffee/brown sugar undertone. There is a good grapefruit citrus acidity in there too that keeps the bite fresh on your tongue while allowing the beer to finish nice and clean.
It has a medium body that while still being a mouthful is still refreshing and not too over powering.
This beer definately gets 4 and 1/2 stars, and has earned a definitive place in my fridge.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Odell - Easy Street Wheat

I have a big spot in my heart for wheat beers, living in a city that produces the best wheat beer that I have ever tasted (boulevard wheat beer) any new wheat beer I taste has a big task ahead on the road ahead. Most simply compare, but I think I may have found a contender...
It pours amazingly clear for being unfiltered. Granted my hometown brew is very opaque, but this is in almost pale ale/ipa land in realms of clarity. There is about a half a finger of head with absolutly no lacing as you drink it. On the smell front it is earthy with some lemonish citrus notes.
Ok so now the important part, the taste... it has a nice earthy maltiness to it. It has a little more hops to it than I was expecting. Most wheats leave the hops on the down low, this beer brings it out, not to the extreme but to a good equalibrium with the malts. Just enough for a slight bitter bite to give this wheat beer a slight kick in the tongue. The really weird part is that for an unfiltered wheat with this ammount of clarity is that it has a much bigger body than was expected at first. Then the carbonation hits, and all of a sudden it makes sense. With the extra body, a slight hit of hops and a nice amount of citrus, when the carbonation comes in, it takes the whole traditional wheat flavor profile and and takes it to a crisper level that most wheat beers can not match.
Do I like it more than boulevards wheat or averys white rascal... no. Would I consider it to be in a different catagory... yes. I would consider this to be an amber ale brewed in the style of a wheat. It is definately a drink all night or at a hot out door bbq, all in all very refreshing.  Odell, I like you... you should send me some free beer. I swear I won't mind...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Flying Dog - Old Scratch Amber Lager

I always kind of imagined this is what Red Stripe always wanted to be...
OK so that is not a real good description of this beer, but right now I don't really care. I am enjoying it a bunch. Here is the nitty gritty
Smells like prunes
Dark amber brown pour
Maybe a half finger head
No lacing
Tastes crisp yet dark with malts, brown sugar, and dark fruit
Clean finish that leaves you with a dark fruit taste
Done, now I am going to go back to enjoying this beer while messing with my Boston terrier and Papillion in the back yard while I piss off the entire neighborhood with there barking at 11:30 @ night.
If you don't like this review... good for you, its kind of crappy, but the beer is tasty, and that's all that matters.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lagunitas - Wilco Tango Foxtrot

Holy Jesus... I didn't think I was going to like this very much on first drink... but boy was I wrong!
I am glad that I chose to pour this into a tulip since this beer is more stout or porter than brown ale. Lagunitas considers this an imperial brown ale, or an American strong brown ale... but hell whatever it is, its dark and creamy. It pours with a huge head that is nice and airy but doesn't stick around for a long time. It has a typical aroma that you would expect, but with a little more of am alcohol over tone. As the level of booze quickly goes down in your glass it leaves a heavy lacing that sticks around for a looooooooong time.
OK so now on the taste front, this beer is f'ing creamy. It is kind of a blend of alot of different beer styles. It has a dark, creamy and malty flavor of a stout, the brown sugar undertones of a brown ale, and the slight nuttiness of an irish red. It has some slight hints of toffee, coffee, and a little hoppy bitterness. Its kind of an odd combination, but I like it. It is kind of like one of their brewers got bored and decided to dump all of their favorite brews into one bottle and just to see what happens.
Whatever the case may be, lagunitas 2 thumbs up to you, one for the fantastic beer, the other for being so awesome with the pricing of your bombers. This Guy totally gets a 4 out of 5 in my book (even though the flavor wheel says 3... i wrote that out before i knew i liked it alot).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Odell - 90 shilling amber ale

Odell, I am falling in love with your brewery. 3 beer reviews in and nothing even close to mediocre. This beer is fantastic so far, let me tell you why.
This is another short and sweet review since I want to continue savoring you. And by you I mean, the beer. If I was savoring my readers (or lack there of) that would just be creepy and odd, don't you understand that you can't drink a person?..
Pours hazy golden red brown
2ish finger head
Good lacing
Smells like brown sugar
Medium body
Slightly bitter (just enough)
Just a pinch of nuts
Don't pinch my nuts
Just a hair of hops coming though
A little bit of dark fruit
Slightly lingering finish
Back bone of brown sugar and delicious
Was that good for you, because I know it was for me? Not amazing but is definately light years better than your average gas station beer... now go get your self some and enjoy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Anchor Brewing - Liberty Ale

This is a brewery that has always been intrigued with as they have seemed to have this old world nostalgia about them. The beer really seems to follow.
This is a beer that I could somehow see my self sailing the seven seas with an eye patch and a peg leg with. Not in my top 10, but still good. Let me explain...
It pours with a huge frothing head that does recesses pretty quickly as well as leave a pretty decent lace on the glass. On the aroma side of things it has a malty wheatiness to it that is a nice slightly spicy crisp refreshing smell.
Taste wise is where it leaves me with a "meh" feeling. It just kind of feels standard to me, a good standard, but standard non the less. It has all the standard flavor backbone of a good solid wheat beer but with the addition of a bitter hops note and a spice that I can't quite put my finger on, maybe nutmeg..? To be honest it seems like a slightly more bitter and spicy boulevard wheat beer, which to be honest I prefer over this beer. This is mainly because of the way it finishes, its not a bad finish, but the flavor profile changes though the finish. It mellows as time goes on, but in the end it goes to a very malty note that kind of contradicts the other flavors. It also leaves a very flowery aftertaste that is an interesting surprise, but doesn't fit the other flavors that are predominant in the beer.
OK so all in all, I spent this whole review comparing two beers that are of two different styles, but at the same time have the same flavor profile. They just hit the tongue different. Do I prefer wheat beers? Kinda. Do I still like this beer? Yes. Is my dog jealous of me right now? I don't know... why the hell would my dog be jealous?..

Friday, April 1, 2011

Bridgeport - Hop Czar

This is a beer that constantly comes up on the "best of" lists... yet another case of, don't always trust your beer tastes by someone else's... I think its partially there, it is just not all its cracked up to be.