Victory Hop Devil Ale

November 30th, 2008 beckel

Here I have a nice glass of Hop Devil, an IPA from Victory Brewing Company out of Downingtown, PA. Though I have only been able to sample a few, Victory has yet to disappoint me with the creative spin they put on their impressive line up of craft brews. This ale is a rather light red hue that has no sediment but is very opaque, head is about an inch and off white in color. Aroma is full of hops, grapefruit and some bitterness as well as a nice malt backbone. The flavor is no surprise, bitter hops are up front accompanied by more floral hop flavors with a nice hint of malty sweetness rounding off the flavor of this beer. The 6.7% ABV of this beer is no real surprise but is nicely masked by the robust hop flavors in this brew. Mouthfeel is average for an IPA and the body is light as well. Definitely a beer I could drink a lot of, luckily I have a few more in the fridge. As the name suggests this is certainly not the drink for those afraid of a hop filled brew but a grand choice for us hopheads. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Victory Hop Devil Ale

Moylan’s Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale

November 30th, 2008 beckel

Moylan’s Brewery from Novato, California crafts a number of award winning big beers that I have wanted to sample for some time. I had the opportunity to taste a few at the Autumn Brew Review but by that time of the day my ability to properly critique beers had diminished to say the least. Good times, but next year I will need to write a lot more down, or perhaps bring a audio recording device. After venturing to Surly Brewing yesterday for some growler action, we were both happy and sad to see them sell out of growlers by 12:30. At the time we got in line (~12:20) they were left with only bender, and a very limited amount at that (they appeared to be selling only 2 per person). After waiting in line for a bit a friend was lucky enough to get the last growler which we shared and then being a Saturday, hopped back on our bikes and proceeded to get proper reserves at Broadway Liquor Outlet en route home. I picked up some Surly Furious and Cynic Ale, as well as a bottle of Avery & Boulder Brewing’s Collaboration Not Litigation Ale and the ale we are here to talk about Moylan’s Kilt Lifter Scotch Style Ale. Though this ale has a large visible warning on the side stating “Live Ale! – Keep Refrigerated” I found this brew sitting on a shelf at room temperature. As this store has only recently started stocking much craft beer I can pretty safely assume it was only on the shelf for a short period of time, hopefully it hasn’t had the opportunity impact the taste too much. This beer pours a light brown color somewhat like a date with some nice red colors coming through when brought to light. Produces a bit over an inch of light tan head that settles within a couple of minutes. Aroma is marvelous, dates, raisins, and maybe plums are most dominate rounded off with some malt and a bit of alcohol. The flavor is similar to the aroma but the malt is much more prevalent. Smooth malt flavors are accented by fermented pitted fruit flavors that create a very balanced ale. Body is relatively light and the mouthfeel is very smooth making this a very easy to drink strong brew. Thought this ale is 8% ABV you will likely not notice until you drink your fair share of it because the lightly caramelized malts and robust but balanced dark fruit flavors completely overpower any alcohol flavor that could be present. This is a wonderfully delicious ale, if you enjoy a balanced malty brew with fruit hints this will be a wonderful accompaniment for your next meal. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Moylan's Kilt Lifter

Our Bikes at Surly
Our bikes at Surly Brewing Company

Out of Beer
The last drops of Surly Bender

Entertaining Posts From The Beer Blogosphere #1

November 28th, 2008 beckel

Here are some interesting posts that I have come across in the past month. First from Jay Brooks we have a very cool alcohol based art exhibition and then a lovely commentary on beer and taxes in California.

Alcohol Art

So many people have posted the Buddhist temple built from beer I don’t know who to give credit to, but here it is anyhow thanks to Tree Hugger.

Buddhist Temple

And lastly we have a humorous post from Knut Albert about silly coyotes trying to smuggle immigrants in a fake piss beer, I mean Budweiser truck.

Piss Beer

Brew Dog Punk IPA

November 28th, 2008 beckel

Today we have some beer from a brewery I have wanted sample for some time. Brew Dog from Fraserburgh, Scotland produces unique, craft brews out of the UK and doesn’t care if you drink piss beer and don’t appreciate their brew, or their beer labels, which have produced some astoundingly absurd controversy that makes it easy to loose a little more faith in humanity and how those in power want to “protect” us. On to the important stuff. Punk IPA pours a surprisingly light orange yellow color, producing less than a half inch of white head that dissipates rapidly. Aroma is full of citrus and floral hops, grapefruit and orange are identifiable as well as a slight bitter alcohol scent that reminds me a bit of wine. The flavor of this ale is very intriguing. Citrus hits the tongue first followed up by a light but surprisingly dominate bitter kick. Some of the light flavors in this ale throw me off a bit because it is not what you get in a typical American IPA, but from what I have learned this seems to be typical of brews from the UK. The bottle states “Post modern classic pale ale” and I must say it’s a pretty straight on description. The body of this beer is very light for an IPA and the mouthfeel is rather clean. If you like a hoppy ale that is big on citrus and aren’t afraid of some bitter accents this would be a dandy choice. I wish Brew Dog the best in their struggles against Alcohol Focus Scotland and the Portman Group as well as any other regulatory bodies they may have to deal with in the future. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Brew Dog Punk IPA

Imbibers One Hundred

November 26th, 2008 beckel

Inspired by the Omnivores One Hundred Darcy of Art of Drink has outlined a Imbibers One Hundred, a list of one hundred beverages you should try in your life. The rules are simple, bold the items you have tried and cross out those you refuse to ever consume.I got 47/100, guess I’ve got some drinking to do. How do you score?

1. Manhattan Cocktail
2. Kopi Luwak (Weasle Coffee)
3. French / Swiss Absinthe
4. Rootbeer
5. Gin Martini
6. Sauternes
7. Whole Milk
8. Tequila (100% Agave)
9. XO Cognac
10. Espresso
11. Spring Water (directly from the spring)
12. Gin & Tonic
13. Mead
14. Westvleteren 12 (Yellow Cap) Trappist Ale
15. Chateau d’Yquem
16. Budweiser
17. Maraschino Liqueur
18. Mojito
19. Orgeat
20. Grand Marnier
21. Mai Tai (original)
22. Ice Wine (Canadian)
23. Red Bull
24. Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
25. Bubble Tea
26. Tokaji
27. Chicory
28. Islay Scotch
29. Pusser’s Navy Rum
30. Fernet Branca
31. Fresh Pressed Apple Cider
32. Bourbon
33. Australian Shiraz
34. Buckley’s Cough Syrup
35. Orange Bitters
36. Margarita (classic recipe)
37. Molasses & Milk
38. Chimay Blue
39. Wine of Pines (Tepache)
40. Green Tea
41. Daiginjo Sake
42. Chai Tea
43. Vodka (chilled, straight)
44. Coca-Cola
45. Zombie (Beachcomber recipe)
46. Barley Wine
47. Brewed Choclate (Xocolatl)
48. Pisco Sour
49. Lemonade
50. Speyside Single Malt
51. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
52. Champagne (Vintage)
53. Rosé (French)
54. Bellini
55. Caipirinha
56. White Zinfandel (Blush)
57. Coconut Water
58. Cerveza
59. Cafe au Lait
60. Ice Tea
61. Pedro Ximenez Sherry
62. Vintage Port
63. Hot Chocolate
64. German Riesling
65. Pina Colada
66. El Dorado 15 Year Rum
67. Chartreuse
68. Greek Wine
69. Negroni
70. Jägermeister
71. Chicha
72. Guiness
73. Rhum Agricole
74. Palm Wine
75. Soju
76. Ceylon Tea (High Grown)
77. Belgian Lambic
78. Mongolian Airag
79. Doogh, Lassi or Ayran
80. Sugarcane Juice
81. Ramos Gin Fizz
82. Singapore Sling
83. Mint Julep
84. Old Fashioned
85. Perique
86. Jenever (Holland Gin)
87. Chocolate Milkshake
88. Traditional Italian Barolo
89. Pulque
90. Natural Sparkling Water
91. Cuban Rum
92. Asti Spumante
93. Irish Whiskey
94. Château Margaux
95. Two Buck Chuck
96. Screech
97. Akvavit
98. Rye Whisky
99. German Weissbier
100. Daiquiri (classic)

Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale & Two Brothers Heavy Handed IPA

November 26th, 2008 beckel

So I’m terrible at posting in a timely fashion sometimes, particularly on occasions where I drink a lot of beer, and two Thursdays ago was no exception. This was the week of Dark Horse Brewing Company’s release parties and I felt obligated to sample some of the brew they were bringing into our fine city from the land of Michigan, so my friend Mike and myself took a nice, slightly brisk bike ride down to Stub & Herbs to meet fellow bike and beer enthusiast Dirtyspeed of Friday Night Beer. Dirtyspeed and myself initially ordered glasses of Dark Horse’s Trip Ale and mike grabbed a glass of their Crooked Tree IPA. When they were brought to us I was initially surprised by the similarity in color of the two brews, the IPA has a slightly more red hue, but they were darn close. The Sapient Trip pours a hazy orange color that has no obvious sediment but it is completely opaque, there was little head present when I received my lovely 22oz glass but I am curious to see how it pours from a bottle. Aroma is like that of many Belgian Tripel Ales, the yeast is noticeable but not too strong in the nose. Smooth slightly sweet malt flavors blend nicely with a hint of bitterness. The mouthfeel is carbonated but rather dry, body is quite light for a Tripel. Definitely a good beer, simple but solid, particularly with its 8.5% ABV. While snapping photos and taking notes like the geek I am mike managed to finish his beer and wound up with a Two Brothers Heavy Handed IPA at the suggestion of Dirtyspeed. Never having sampled this brew I gave it a taste and immediately knew what I needed to order next. Two Brothers Brewing Company from Warrenville, Illinois has been on my radar for some time but this was the first opportunity I had to sample some of their brew on tap, and I am happy to say I was very pleased. Their Heavy Handed IPA pours a nice deep red color. Aroma is hoppy but only slightly bitter. Flavor is a nice blend of initial sweetness that is very subtle, finished off by wonderful hop flavors that lean towards the bitter side but are not particularly intense, no tongue burning here. With its full flavor this beer is still very drinkable, having a rather light body and smooth mouthfeel. A unquestionably delicious ale. Coming in at 5.7% ABV this is a great beer to drink all night long, and that’s exactly what we did. Cheers to stubs for having $4.50 22oz taps after 9pm on Thursdays. Happy to have sampled two tasty new brews, particularly the IPA we had a fun, much less chilly ride home; freedom is the only way. Give em a shot and ride your bike.

Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale

Two Brothers Heavy Handed IPA

Dirtyspeed and Beckel

Brau Brothers Ring Neck Braun Ale

November 24th, 2008 beckel

Today we have a lovely craft brew from the fine folk of Brau Brothers Brewing Company from the small town of Lucan (Population 220) in the wonderful state of Minnesota. Brau Brothers is an up and coming brewery that has started widening their distribution and can now be found at a number of bars and liquor stores in the metro area and beyond. I managed to sample a few of their brews at the Autumn Brew Review but have yet to have the opportunity to give one a proper review. So when I saw a 6-pack of Ring Neck Braun Ale, their first single batch series ale (868 cases and 32 kegs produced), I couldn’t pass it up. This Nut Brown Ale pours a nice roasted brown color that allows varying shades of brown, black and red through when brought to the light. Head is under two inches and fades quite rapidly, leaving a thin light tan layer of froth that remains throughout consumption. Smells of well roasted malts, subtle nuttiness, and gentle hints of creamy fruit. The flavor of this ale is very smooth and creamy, roasted malts are dominate, complimented by a subtle nutty flavor you expect from an ale of this style as well as a subtle fruit hint that reminds me of peach and raspberries. The aroma of this beer does wonders, bringing out the somewhat sweet and smooth flavors of this ale immensely. Brau Brothers call this beer a Double Nut Brown Ale because of its 7% ABV but you likely won’t notice it’s content until you’ve had a few. The mouthfeel of this beer is creamy but the body is reasonably light and quite drinkable. Definitely not your average Nut Brown Ale, but a wonderful creative creation. If you are a fan of dark ales, particularly a nice unique milk stout you will likely fancy this ale, as will those who appreciate brown ales that don’t quite fit the mold. A good drink in any situation and a wonderful treat for those who appreciate quality craft beer. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Brau Brothers Ring Neck Braun Ale

Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre

November 17th, 2008 beckel

Here we have another interesting beer from the fine folk at Dogfish Head in Milton, Delaware. Raison D’Etre is brewed with Belgian beet sugars and green raisins and is sure to be a unique experience. As the bottle says, this beer pours a deep mahogany color that is very opaque, with red tones shining through as you bring it to the light. Producing about 1/2 inch of very light tan head that settles very quickly. The aroma is intriguing, prune and raisin scents are nicely rounded off with gentle roasted malts and a slight smell of alcohol. The flavor of this beer is very different. Tastes of raisins or plums and a very strange sweet flavor surely influence by the beet sugar used in this brew, a bit of malt seems to round off the flavor but it is rather difficult to place the flavors in this ale. Though this beer is 8% ABV the alcohol is rather mute, particularly when distracted with all of the very interesting flavors in this beer. As with many complex ales, more flavors are noticeable when served cool, but I find this beer more drinkable cold. The mouthfeel of this beer is a bit sticky but it is reasonably drinkable and the body isn’t too heavy. Though the flavors of this beer are very unique it goes down quite smoothly but likely will not be drunk very quickly. Certainly not the beer for everyone but if you are looking for something different and don’t oppose fruit flavors you may enjoy this brew. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre

Ommegang Hennepin

November 14th, 2008 beckel

Here we have another ale from Ommegang, the Belgian influenced and owned brewery from Cooperstown, New York. Hennepin is brewed in the old Saison style and is a wonderful choice any time of the year. I first and last consumed this beer last Christmas, time to see how my palate may have changed. This beer pours a nice golden orange color that is slightly transparent but also hazy depending on how much yeast you let in your glass, I was reminded of this in my two pours that you will see below. Producing many inches of pure white head depending on how heavy handed you are, most of which will subside after a few minutes and you are left with a small amount of lacing on the glass and a few floating patches of head. Aroma is pleasant with simple slightly tart citrus and gentle spices coming through, smelling much like a Belgian ale. The citrus flavors from the hops in the beer provide a nice sour kick to this simple and refreshing ale. Malts are smooth and give this beer a slightly spicy slightly caramel taste showing its Belgian influence. It is rather impressive how the flavors of this beer wonderfully cover its 7.7% ABV with little difficulty. This is a very nice simple and drinkable, yet flavorful example of a Saison that I believe many people will enjoy even if they have little experience with craft beer. The mouthfeel is reasonably light but hearty with a light body. This Ale would be delicious with light meats or wonderful to relax with after a good days work. Definitely a good choice for anyone who appreciates lighter but still flavorful brews and doesn’t mind a bit of Belgian influence. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
Ommegang Hennepin Pour One
Pour one: little to no yeast, very transparent and golden, less orange in color.

Ommegang Hennepin Pour Two
Pour two: much yeast, only slightly transparent, much more orange and hazy in color.

New Glarus Hop Hearty

November 13th, 2008 beckel

Today we have the last of the New Glarus brews I was able to bring back from Wisconsin, at least I still have two left to enjoy. Hop Hearty is a solid IPA dry hopped with Cascade and East Kent Golding and my favorite New Glarus yet. When not poured gently this beer produces a number of inches of almost white head, most of which settles rather quickly aside from about one inch that lasts for a few minutes. Color is a nice mostly red amber color that is transparent when held to light but quite dark in hue. You can tell what the dry hopping did to this beers aroma immediately, many scents are present including some orange like citrus, sweet malt, and a nice balance of hop bitterness with barely any alcohol present. Drinking this beer fills you mouth with hops, as I sip this beer the citrus tastes more like grapefruit and the malt becomes more pronounced still finishing with a nice little bitter kick. Though this beer is 6.2% ABV it like all other New Glarus brews I have had, is remarkably drinkable with a light body and smooth mouthfeel. Though this beer certainly has very nice hop contributions the simple malt balance should make this beer a bit more approachable to those who are intimidated by the concept of IPAs, not to take away from the marvelous hop flavors of this beer. Once again another delightful ale from the land of New Glarus, Wisconsin. I wish I could purchase this beer more often but until the day they change their minds and distribute to their neighbors in Minnesota, I guess I will have to convince my roommate he needs beer on Sundays more often. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

New Glarus Hop Hearty