Big Thanks To Insurance Companies

Bell’s Hopslam Ale

July 30th, 2008 beckel

With only two hopslams still sitting in my fridge I decided now was a prime time to inform you all of its brilliance. This Imperial IPA from Bell’s brewery is one heck of a beer, available from January to February officially, but I picked up some of the last in stock just a few weeks ago being very delighted at how regularly it seemed to be restocked even when I assumed the season was over. This beer pours an amazingly deep copper color that has hues of red when in light with a nice solid inch of head that dissipates slowly. The aroma of this beer is delightful, sweet and caramelized malt is detected but rounded off by massive bitter aromas. Clocking in at 10% ABV this beer is no joke but be warned you may not notice. Flavor is incredibly hoppy but surprisingly unbitter considering how much hop goes into brewing this beer. Strong hop flavor is immediately quelled by a massive caramel malt profile that includes hints of sweetness and floral flavors finished off by slightly bitter hop flavors again. This is one incredibly impressively flavored Imperial IPA, for its high ABV you will be amazed by how much its light floral and malty characteristics over power the alcohol flavor, delightfully balanced. Mouthfeel is medium but very drinkable. I have noticed many different flavors every time I try this beer but never been disappointed. Because of the lack of massive bitterness but full packed flavor this makes for a great Imperial IPA for someone who perhaps prefers a more floral beer but still wants a great hop kick and a nice ABV with a smooth finish. Everyone should try this beer even if it won’t be available until next year, at least you have something to look forward to. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Bell's Hopslam Ale

Town Hall Warrior Double Dry and a few others

July 30th, 2008 beckel

I was informed that the Town Hall Brewery of Minneapolis was releasing a beer made with only warrior hops so I thought it was damn time I made my way over there. Drinking a single hopped beer is a great way to learn about a particular hop and what it can do to the aroma, flavor and even body of a beer. The Warrior Double dry pours a nice light copper color that is somewhat transparent. Smell is heavy on the hops, somewhat sweet but largely bitter aroma. Body is medium light. This beer has an insane hop profile, quite bitter but with a twisted tangy flavor that is almost like a citrus. This is a very interesting flavored beer and hop variety. Over all a darn good beer coming in at 5.5% ABV and definitely worth trying particularly if you adore hops. Drink it while its still around. Town Hall Warrorir Double Dry

While I was at it I figured I should sample some of their Masala Mama IPA that was cask aged. This beer cascades immensely from a lovely hazy orange color to a nice amber red that is barely transparent. Aroma is slightly hoppy but smooth sweet malt is more predominate. Mouthfeel is light. The flavor of this beer is surprisingly sweet. Slight bitterness is present initially but overpowered by immense flavorful malt sweetness with a slight hint of caramel. Head is thick, persistent and off white. Not what I was expecting, but still a good beer. It will be interesting to try their normal IPA sometime to compare. If you like a sweet smooth IPA this is for you.

Lastly I ordered some of their Cow Tipper a seasonal coming in at 5.7% ABV. Light copper in color quite transparent. Smells strongly like a pilsner, heavy malt scent. Head is relatively large but fades quickly. Light mouthfeel and very drinkable. Tastes of full flavored pilsner malts, very nice flavor balance particularly seeing as I tend to not prefer pilsners. Quite carbonated. If you like a pilsner with a bit more flavor this is a grand choice, likely perfect on a hot summer day like we’ve been having as of late. Give Town Hall some love and ride your bike.

Town Hall Cask IPA

Town Hall Cow Tipper

Breckenridge 471 Imperial IPA

July 27th, 2008 beckel

This imperial IPA from Breckenridge Brewery out of Denver, Colorado is part of their small batch 471 series of specialty beers and has tempted me for some time. Pours with plenty of head that cascades nicely and lasts for some time, off white in color. Appearance is of dark apricot and very hazy, not transparent at all. Aroma is full of hops, bitter and somewhat citrus, slight malt scent  is present.  This beer boasts a mighty hop profile slight citrus and heavy bitterness are predominate but there is a nice balance of malt sweetness. The 9.2% ABV is only notable in the amount of bitterness presented in this beer bit not overpowering because of the sweetness present in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium. Overall this is a damn flavorful and well crafted Imperial IPA and will likely be enjoyed by those who appreciate a strong hoppy, but balanced beer. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Breckenridge 471 Imperial IPA

Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager

July 26th, 2008 beckel

I have passed up this beer numerous times in the liquor store, so when I saw it while filling up a mixed six pack I decided it deserved a try. Summerfest from Sierra Nevada is a pilsner style lager clocking in at 5% ABV, not my favorite style of beer but lets see how it goes. Pours a very transparent yellow color typical of a pilsner, head is incredibly plentiful and creates a lovely eruption of bubbles as it cascades. Smells of light pilsner malts somewhat sweet, slight hop aroma present. Mouthfeel is light. Tastes of corn and slightly sour malt complimented by hop bitterness but a slightly sweet aftertaste. More complex flavor than most pilsners that I’ve had and likely a refreshing drink on a hot summer day. A decent beer but not quite my thing, if your looking for a lager with some flavor this might not be a bad choice. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Sierra Nevada Summerfest

Anchor Old Foghorn Barleywine

July 24th, 2008 beckel

As you can see I wasted little time in picking up another brew from Anchor Brewing. This time we have the Old Foghorn a barleywine style ale made in the English tradition. This beer pours a very nice deep dark red color. Head is plentiful, solid and relatively light in color. The aroma of this beer is lovely, strong sweet caramelized malt scents balanced with a slightly bitter smell of fermented fruit and alcohol. This beer has an intense flavor as any good barleywine should. Flavors of intense malt and hop bitterness countinue on to flavors of fermented fruit and sweet caramelized malt, finishes with a delightful dance between the sweet and bitter flavors. Mouthfeel is medium and the ABV of 9.4% is certainly noticeable in this beer but it is by no means unpleasant or predominate. The contrast of flavors make for a delightful sipping beer any time you want a quality strong drink. This is a very good beer, anyone who likes strong or complex beers will likely find this to be a good choice. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Anchor Old Foghorn

Orval Trappist Ale

July 22nd, 2008 beckel

Orval is one of the 7 Trappist monasteries that produce beer and a foreign one to me. First produced in 1931 in the Gaume region of Belgium, this beer is sure to be an experience. Pours with massive head that is quite impossible to disturb as a proper Belgian beer should. Color is a lovely orange red, not hazy but not penetrated by light either.  Aroma is almost like a wine, full scent of alcohol and fermentation. This beer has a complex flavor, lots of smooth malt sweeps over the palate accompanied by bitter and almost sour citrus flavors. The bitter and tart flavors are most notable in this beer but the malt and yeast manage to balance this 6.9% ABV beer quite well. Probably a beer you want to sip on but its mouthfeel is amazingly light. The yeast doesn’t stand out as much as it did in the Chimay Trappist beers I’ve had but it is still an unquestionably unique drink with some flavors not present in most beer. If you like different and complex beers you should certainly give this one a try, though you will probably like it more if you prefer a  sour beer or are a fan of fermented fruits. Trappist ales are always unique and I’m glad I got the chance to try this one. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Orval Trappist Ale

Peak Organic Amber Ale

July 22nd, 2008 beckel

Couldn’t wait to try the other Peak Organic beer in my fridge, so without further ado. This beer pours a grand slightly dark but transparent cherry red color. Head is much less plentiful than the pale ale but seems a bit more solid. Smell is similar to that of the pale ale but smoother and deeper roasted malt scents and a hint of something else almost fruit like. Flavor is predominately roasted malts, but still sweet with a nice balance of bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is relatively light and quite drinkable at 4.8% ABV. These beers have both been good, and I definitely prefer the amber to the pale ale, but something about these beers throws me off, I think it is their strange malt profile, quite different than most, almost reminds me of an English brown ale. This is a beautiful and tasty beer, if you would like to try an amber that is a bit different this is a great choice. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Peak Organic Amber Ale

Peak Organic Pale Ale

July 21st, 2008 beckel

I have always been curious about the many organic beers popping up as of late and Peak Organic out of Portland, Maine seems to be a prime example of the trend. I have heard some positive things about their beers, so when filling up a mixed six pack I thought I would try the two varieties the store had on hand. This pale ale pours a nice copper color with some red hues and a nice full head. The plentiful head fades rather rapidly. Smells of roasted and perhaps carmelized malts, more like an amber than a pale ale, very pungent. The flavor encompasses a lot of roasted malt and some bitterness in the aftertaste which makes the 5.05% ABV barely notable. Mouthfeel is rather light. As I drink more of this beer I continue to be surprised by its flavor, some more pale malts are detectable but the roasted malt flavor is most prevalent. Overall a very different beer than I was expecting based on its pale ale label but it is also not a bad beer. More of a roasted malty beer but I suppose it is rather pale. I think this is definitely a good beer but I’m not sure how often I would purchase it because of all of the other grand beers out there. If your into the organic concept and want to support a good cause, or just like a roasted malty pale (or amber) beer this one might catch your fancy. I am very curious to see what their amber tastes like now. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Peak Organic Pale Ale

Anchor Liberty Ale

July 20th, 2008 beckel

I have heard nothing but praise about beer from Anchor Brewing so i figured it was high time I gave some a try. Liberty Ale is an American pale ale out of San Fransisco, California clockig in at a pleasant 6% ABV. First brewed in 1975 to celebrate the bicentennial of the famous ride by Paul Revere. This lovely light orange beer has some intense carbonation, careful when pouring. Head is strong but also has some small champaign like bubbles. Smell is nice, somewhat pale but sweet citrus is also present.Tastes Mostly of lightly sweet pale malt, but there is also some nice bitterness. The balance is very nice and the yeast definitely helps makes this a good flavorful beer. Mouthfeel is pretty light. This is a darn good pale ale, flavors range from sweet to bitter to even a bit sour and balance out amazingly. A grand choice on a warm day or if you just prefer less hops but like a good beer with quality ingredients. I will definitely be picking up more Anchor beers. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Anchor Liberty Ale

Surly Tasting at Mackenzie

July 17th, 2008 beckel

Surly Two MackenzieLast night was the Surly event at Mackenzie commemorating their new Surly Brewing neon sign. On tap was some rare Surly Two, Coffee Bender and a firkin of cask aged CynicAle. I was very excited to try the Two and was certainly not disappointed. Aroma is of dark malts and a tad sweet. Tastes of sweet cranberries initially but after taste is of mildly dark malt. Deep dark color, quite black. Medium mouthfeel. I was a bit hesitant to buy this beer when they were selling the 750’s because I expected it to be overpowering on the cranberry note but I was pleasantly surprised by its subtle sweetness and grand balance. I am not particularly a fan of coffee but I believe any Surly beer deserves to be tried. When I got this beer I immediately noticed how strong the aroma was of coffee. Color is very dark and mouthfeel is meduim but surprisingly light. The flavor of this beer is that of an Bender infused with espresso, slightly malty. Quite good, but too heavy on the coffee flavor for my tastes. It was my buddies birthday so we only had about a half hour and I was only able to get a sip of the cask aged CynicAle before we left to Ichiban (mmm sake) but it was quite good. The color was a bit deeper and more orange than usual and the fermented fruit flavors were a good deal more notable. Good stuff, wish I could have had more. Get surly, drink Surly and ride your bike.

Surly Coffee Bender Mackenzie