Big Thanks To Insurance Companies

Boulder Mojo Risin Double IPA

June 30th, 2008 beckel

Boulder Brewing Company out of Boulder, Colorado makes some interesting beers. So a few weeks ago when I saw they came out with a Double IPA Mojo Risin via Beer Tap TV I figured I had to give it a shot. As the 6th release of Boulder’s Looking Glass Series of sepciality beers Mojo Risin seems sure to not disappoint. This beer smells a lot like Boulder’s regular IPA Mojo with a decent amount of citrus but seemingly more malt undertones. Head is a bit tan and fluffy and certainly plentiful. Color is very orange and transparent. Tastes of citrus and Amarillo hops but rather flat with the malt flavors in the end. Alcohol is certianly present but gives almost a sweet taste with a bit of sour in the end. By doubling the Amarillo Hops and Malt they put in their Mojo IPA Boulder’s Double IPA clocks in at 10% ABV. Mouthfeel is smooth and light but a bit sticky. Over all a pretty darn decent beer. The regular Mojo IPA was always a little simple for me, and Boulder did an awesome job stepping up to the plate with their Double IPA. Full flavor and alcohol and more of a malt profile than the original India Pale Ale. This beer is still has a bit more citrus flavor than I would normally go for, but it balanced out incredibly well. If you want a strong hoppy beer that isn’t particularly bitter this one will do the trick. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Boulder Mojo Risin Double IPA

Great Divide Hercules Double IPA

June 30th, 2008 beckel

Here is another lovely beer from Great Divide Brewing out of Denver, Colorado. This beer pours a hazy dark orange color. Head is dense, white and quite plentiful. Smells slightly of orange and other simple citrus, many hops and a bit of alcohol gently dulled by malt. This beer has great flavor, quite hoppy and a tad bitter in the end. Some alcohol is present in the flavor, which is understandable considering its 9.1% ABV but is not overpowering in anyway. Storming in at 85 IBU this beer certainly has a big hop profile but is smoothed out very nicely by malt flavor. This beer is best colder and amazingly well balanced. Mouthfeel is smooth and quite light. Anyone who likes hoppy bold beers should give this beer a try, it is a bit intense but not overpowering…unless you drink too many. Try it out and ride your bike.

Great Divide Hercules Double IPA

North Coast Brewing Acme Pale Ale

June 29th, 2008 beckel

For the past few days I have been attending my cousins lovely wedding in Shawnee, Kansas. While there we went to the nearby liquor store and I was pleasantly surprised by their selection. This beer chosen by my stepdad is brewed by North Coast Brewing from California; who in 1996 resurrected the Acme name originally from San Fransisco and continues to brew their Pale Ale and IPA in Fort Bragg, CA. This beer pours a deep hazy apricot color, certainly unfiltered. Smells of pale malt and quite a bit of citrus. Head is modest and white. Flavor is a bit sour but malty. Mouthfeel is light and refreshing. This is a decent drinkable beer, but a little simple and pale for my tastes. I wouldn’t discourage anyone from trying this beer, but it is a bit sour.  If you like a citrus filled pale ale give it a shot and ride your bike.

North Coast Brewing Acme Pale Ale

Grain Belt Premium

June 25th, 2008 beckel

I knew the day would come when I would review the wonderful Minnesota beer that is Grain Belt Premium. Today this event has been advanced by the fine folk at Brew52.com, a Minnesota based weekly community beer review website. This beer was once brewed by Minneapolis Brewing Company in Northeast Minneapolis along the Mississippi River. About 6 years ago they were purchased by Schells but still remain a separate entity. This beer pours a very transparent golden color. Has moderate head that settles rather rapidly. Very simple scent of malt and almost a sweet citrus. Mouthfeel is very light and smooth. Tastes like a slightly malty lager with an almost tart after taste. Good flavor but very simple. This is a great easy drinking beer, particularly on a nice hot day. If your into simple lagers this is a good one to go for. Beyond that its always nice to enjoy a flavorful cold local beer that is reasonably inexpensive and very drinkable. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Grain Belt Premium

Drinking With Your Kids

June 24th, 2008 beckel

I will take a moment away from drinking beer and talk more about our society as a whole and how the legality of beer (and liquor) in our country impacts how we live our lives.  J from Brookston Beer Bulletin and Lew Bryson from Seen Through a Glass posted about a surprisingly well written and informative piece from Time entitled “Should You Drink with Your Kids?”. To avoid ranting too much I will try to keep to the topic at hand. The simple answer to the question posed by Time in my opinion is YES! Now by making a blatant statement like that, I’m sure I will get the blatant responses of “But there’s a drinking age for a reason” and “Won’t somebody think of the children?” This is fine, because I am thinking of the children. Most people will drink underage, screw the statistics, they just blur the lines, none the less I’m sure we can all agree that more people drink underage than do not. Now with that said how do we want our (potential) children to learn about the consumption of alcohol? When alcohol is presented to a minor as something normal and not taboo not only is there less desire to consume it, but it also allows the parent to educate their children about it in a safe environment. When I was young my mother allowed me to consume some of whatever they were drinking if I so desired. The fact of the matter is after trying the stuff the adults were drinking not only did I not want to try it anymore (because it did not taste good to me at the time) but it also made alcohol not seem like a big deal. So when as a underage youth I was presented with alcohol outside of my home I rarely imbibed because there was no desire or excitement because it was not only a normal thing to me, but I also saw how silly people acted when they drank too much. Allowing your children to consume alcohol in your home, particularly in their later teen years I believe allows a person to become more familiar with the substance in a safe and friendly environment. Where no one has the pressure of friends trying to get you to drink or other silly things that kids do. If a person never has a drink before the age of 21, how are the supposed to behave on their 21st birthday? Certainly they would get quite drunk. This is the problem. Our system encourages underage people to binge drink; blatantly. It is far easier to get a bottle of strong spirits than it is to get some good beer. Not only is it less expensive but also much easier to conceal and get drunk quickly. Binge drinking is where most of our issues with underage drinking occur. The best way to curb this is to help give children a respect for alcohol. Be it beer or spirits, by sharing quality drinks with your children you can expose them to the other side of drinking, the great flavors, the companionship, and all the other good qualities of alcohol with out the goal of just getting drunk. Your kid’s friends certainly aren’t going to teach them this. As the Time article states, this is largely the way European countries handle this issue, and even though they have lower drinking ages they have about the same level of consumption and less issues with youth binge drinking. Part of the problem here are the many “social host” laws in this country. While I agree that there should be laws regulating this issue, I believe many of these laws are very over bearing and simply unconstitutional. First off any state that does not allow parents to do as they please in their home is wrong (provided it safe and sane). Second I simply believe many of these laws to be too broad; one should not be responsible for those things that they are not aware are occurring. We simply need to encourage our children to be socially responsible and I don’t think we need masses of laws to accomplish this, we simply need to give our children respect, and part of this may be allowing them to consume alcohol occasionally under your supervision. You should probably teach you kids to ride their bike first, but seriously teach your children about the great world that is beer. Allow them to try it, it is the only way they will learn to respect it and be responsible without having to learn from someone else after making mistakes. Now I don’t agree with the drinking age being 21 in the first place…but that will be left for another post.

Victory Golden Monkey

June 23rd, 2008 beckel

Golden Monkey is a Belgian inspired golden tripel ale from Victory Brewing out of Pennsylvania.  This beer pours a golden yellow color that is a quite hazy. Head is quite intense, but fades rather quickly, color is very white.  Mouthfeel is smooth and contains no real sediment as is often present in a heavy Belgian. Rocking a 9.5% AVB this beer is no joke but goes down very smooth. Smells rather strongly, perhaps of bananas and some citrus, as well as a smooth malt scent. Taste is quite nice, a bit sour here and there but over all sligtly malty and smooth with a bite of fruit flavor that masks the alcohol content perfectly. If you want a good American take on a Belgian Golden tripel ale, this is a very good contender and Victory makes many good brews that you will be sure to see me review in the future. For its strong ABV this beer is incredibly lite and makes for good drinking in warm weather as well as any time of the year. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Victory Golden Monkey

Surly Furious

June 23rd, 2008 beckel

Oh Surly how I do love you. I have to start this post with a bit of full disclosure. This beer given to me the day of my twentieth birthday was the beginning of my love for American craft beer. It is brewed by the innovative Surly Brewing Company in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Not to be confused by Surly bikes another grand company that started in the state of Minnesota. Furious is an IPA that represents what an American IPA should be in my opinion. Pours a deep hazy red color that starts to fade to a slight orange tint in bright light. Plentiful slightly tan head. Smells strongly of hops with a bit of bitterness but very well balanced. Tastes strongly of hops, particularly the cascade variety. Which is to be expected with its 99 IBUs and 6.2% ABV. Very full flavored and certainly a bit bitter for those not used to the heavy hop punch, overall incredibly well balanced with a nice malt undertone on the front of the palate that helps ward off the bitterness in the end. Mouthfeel is quite smooth and makes this a very refreshing beer for anytime of the year. I whole heartedly encourage everyone to try this beer because it may show you flavors you have never enjoyed before, particularly if you care for a hoppy beer. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Surly Furious

Great Divide Wild Raspberry Ale

June 19th, 2008 beckel

A raspberry ale wouldn’t normally catch my attention, but Great Divide makes some beautiful beers. So when I saw this ale at the store I had to pick it up. This is a beer I have been meaning to try for some time and I must say it does not disappoint. It is fermented with hundreds of pounds of red and black raspberries because Great Divide does not joke around with their beers and this is no exception. Pours a lovely bright raspberry color, quite deep in color but definitely filtered. Head is decent if poured properly in the middle of the glass but settles quite quickly, very white in color. Smells strongly of fresh raspberries not syrupy at all, with a hint of malt coming through to smoothen out the scent. Incredibly aromatic even from a decent distance. Tastes strongly of raspberries with a nice simple malt after taste. Very well balanced for a fruit beer, does not seem fruity at all. Clocking in at 5.6% this is definitely a real ale (with fruit flavor…). Mouthfeel is very smooth. This beer is not overly complex but it is certainly very tasty. The raspberry tones can be a bit tart here and there, but it is not a sour beer. Over all a quality beer, would definitely hit the spot for someone who does not like an overly complex beer, but wants something flavorful and a bit fruity. Even if you do not like fruity beers this one is worth trying as well as many other grand Great Divide beers from Colorado that I’m sure I will write about in the near future. Drink the beer and ride your bike.

Great Divide Wild Raspberry Ale

Southern Tier Unearthy

June 17th, 2008 beckel

I was turned on to Southern Tier on my birthday when I had a goblet of Hoppe their Imperial EPA which was quite flavorful and complex. So when I saw a number of their bottles at The Four Firkins I had to try some more of their beers. This Imperial IPA pours a slightly hazy but filtered looking light orange color. The smell is quite complex, very hop filled with slight orange marmalade scent in the end. This beer produces a surprisingly little amount of head with a light tan color. Packing in a mega 11% ABV and an insane 153 IBU the scent of this beer is amazingly smooth. Tastes strongly of hops of a number of varieties with a little bite towards the end that is then smoothed out by the malt flavor. A very well balanced beer and surprisingly unbitter, an impressive feat considering the ABV and hop profile. The mouthfeel is relatively smooth but a bit stickier than expected. If your looking for a strong beer this is not a bad choice, though it is very intense and perhaps even more hoppy and alcoholic than I care for, which is surprising but I would definitely drink it again. I look forward to trying some more of their beers. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

southern tier unearthly

The Four Firkins

June 16th, 2008 beckel

On Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the grand opening of The Four Firkins in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. The Four Firkins is the 1st specialty beer store in Minnesota and basically the best birthday gift I could ask for. They stock domestic craft beer as well as many imported craft beers, they do not sell liquor or crappy beer (read: miller, A-B, Coors). I am told they stock some root beer and NA beer, though I didn’t notice any as the store was quite crowded at the time, and in the future they may sell wine. The grand opening was fantastic, I didn’t come in time for the Brau Brothers samples but at 6PM Flat Earth was there with their Element 115 Lager a delicious hoppy lager I hadn’t tried before, certainly worth a shot. Summit had a keg of cask aged IPA, it was unfiltered as to allow for a secondary fermentation in the cask and provided a good deal of extra flavor that is not present in their regularly bottled IPA. I would like to see Summit continue to try creative things like this as I am not traditionally partial to summits IPA, but the cask aging made it a very worthy beer. Surly was there with their bitter brewer and Schells had many of their bottled beers available to taste, the hefeweizen was pretty decent. Aside from free beer always being grand this store is truly awesome the shelves are lined with good beers from all over, bottles big and small. I feel like a kid in a grown up candy store. They even have a decent sized cooler with some cold beer including plenty of Surly. The prices are reasonable and in the brief conversation I had with Alvery (the owner) he seemed like a nice guy, go on over and give him your support. He even has a bike rack up front. Support craft beer lovers!