December 31st, 2008 beckel
Today we have another creative ale from the inventive minds of Lagunitas Brewing to enjoy on this Happy New Years Eve! This beer was brewed to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the release of Frank Zappa and Mothers of Invention’sÂ album of the same name and apparently Lagunitas plans to continue to release one special beer in honor of the 40th anniversary of every studio album by Zappa. A very nice concept and wonderful tribute, it will be interesting to see what they come up with next time. Though Lagunitas insists this is a “DoppaDooAyDoo Style Ale” the word on the street is that it is an Imperial Stout with a solid 8.6% ABV and that’s good enough for me to be curious. I’ll have to determine who I agree with after giving it a shot, so on we go. This beer pours with a solid three fingers of wonderful frothy head that tastes quite sweet and is a solid, relatively dark tan color. After settling for a few minutes there is still a nice fine layer present and plenty of lacing on the glass. Color is very black with only a little bit of a red hue shining through when brought to light. Aroma is of malt, malt and more malt. Some sweet creamy smells, others slightly roasted, all dark. Not bad at all, upon my first sip I thought there wasn’t too much to the flavor until I started swallowing and noticed all of the interesting roasted flavors, reminding me of charcoal and making me wish I’d cooked up my steak first. The initial taste is simple and on the sweet side but not overbearing in any way. As it finishes you are left with a much drier and unique roasted malt flavor. The body is medium and the mouthfeel is a bit on the dry side for a brew but it is very easy to drink so long as you don’t mind dark stouts. For the lack of intense flavors other than toasted malt this beer does a darn good job covering up the alcohol, you can tell it’s there but it doesn’t taste like ethanol at all. After drinking close to half a bottle I am noticing an almost fruity characteristic but it is hard to pinpoint, more in the pitted fruits category and certainly not dominate at all. Definitely an interesting brew and something that should be very approachable for someone wanting to try an Imperial Stout. Unfortunately I only have one bottle because a stout would go lovely with the meal I plan to cook up momentarily, oh well. To all a good new year, and be safe out there. As always give it a shot and ride your bike, even if it is snowy out there and only getting colder.
December 30th, 2008 beckel
Today we have a Barleywine brewed by the lovely folk at Tyranena Brewing from the land of Lake Mills, WI. As part of their ever changing Brewers Gone Wild series I was quite excited to sample this brew, as most of their experimental beers I have had the opportunity to sample have been delightfully flavorful and strong. This beer pours bright red raspberry like color that is incredibly opaque letting no light through. Head is white and about two fingers. Aroma is very malty, sweet, slightly roasted with some fruit and a hint of alcohol.The flavor of this ale is very unique. Rich and malty with a gentle roasted flavor. Figs and raisins come through strong and cover the 9% ABV of this beer remarkably. The body is relatively light for a Barleywine though the mouthfeel is a tad sticky. Definitely a tasty ale to accompany an hearty meal. Not my favorite from the series so far but quite tasty and something I’m very glad I had the opportunity to sample and would gladly drink again, though I just poured my 2nd and last of the four pack. If you are a fan of ales like Dogfish Head’s Raison D’etre you will undoubtedly enjoy this brew. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
December 26th, 2008 beckel
While getting some Christmas shopping done a few days ago I found myself near Surdyks and stopped in for some brew.Â While there they were sampling a bottle of Brew Dog’s Paradox, I’m not certain which edition it was but I must say it was quite tasty. I had limited space in my bag so I didn’t pick any up but I’ll have to grab some next time I have the opportunity. Having quite enjoyed Dark Horse Brewing’s Scotty Karate I grabbed a four pack of that and decided this time I should also sample a four pack of their One, an Oatmeal Stout and part of their Holiday Stout Series. Though One is the only brew from the series I have seen in stores I hope to be able to find the other 4 brews sometime this winter. This beer pours a deep dark black color that is not penetrated by light at all, head is two fingers and dark brown in color that is retained for a few minutes and then settles completely. Smells nicely of dark rich roasted malts with a smooth slightly sweet hint of oat. This is certainly a stout. Dark roasted malty flavors are dominate throughout this brew with lighter smoother flavors sneaking in here and there. Though it is not apparent in the flavor, RateBeer puts this beers ABV at 8% and though I was going to guess just under that I feel very nice after one bottle of this brew. For a stout the body of this beer is quite light, and the mouthfeel of this drinkable beer is quite smooth. A relatively simple but tasty stout. Though I will not likely purchase this ale regularly anyone who likes a malty stout with some nice roasted flavor will enjoy this brew.Â A simple ale with a nice underhanded punch. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
December 17th, 2008 beckel
The first time I bought a bottle of Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout I was too impatient to write up a review and was a bit concerned I wouldn’t be able to find another bottle as it is part of their Limited Release series but I was pretty confident I would be able to find more as I have seen it on the shelves of a number of local liquor stores. Their website doesn’t have any information about this brew but the bottle has a nice little ode to coffee that I’m sure many of you would appreciate and concur with. I happen to not be a coffee drinker but I’ll happily suffer through another bottle of this brew for you my loyal readers, my life is hard what can I say. This beer pours a very dark flat black color that is quite opaque tho some red hues come through when brought to light. Producing a good inch and change of light tan head that lasts for a few minutes leaving a small amount of lacing on the glass and leaving a solid ring around the liquid level. This ale smells of nice rich roasted coffee that is dominate but not overpowering, complimented by some slightly sweet dark maltiness, very nice. This is absolutely a coffee beer. Tastes mostly of freshly roasted coffee with some roasted malts coming in to remind you that your drinking beer. After all of the roasted flavors you get a nice almost creamy sweetness that helps balance the dominate dark coffee flavors and easily hide the solid 8.29% ABV of this brew. The body of this beer is medium but the creamy smooth mouthfeel makes this a quite drinkable beer provided you are used to big beers and don’t mind a dark ale. If you like stouts and coffee this is unquestionably a beer for you. For those who do not like roasted flavors you should probably stay away, though you may still be able to enjoy it in small quantities because of the sweet balance that rounds off this brew. Another impressive showing from Lagunitas Brewing Company. Though coffee beers aren’t exactly my thing I sincerely hope they make this a regularly brewed beer. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
December 16th, 2008 beckel
When I looked out side earlier today to see snow flowing through the air I knew my commute home this evening was going to be a blast. Five and a half hours later it was of course still snowing, so I grabbed my bike from the rack and went off into the wintry wonderland that is Minnesota. After a fun commute trying not to slip under cars and keeping my eyes clear of snow once home the only thing to do was grab a beer. Though my fridge is packed with beer I need to review the two degree temperature outside made the choice of a nice Southern Tier Imperial Stout that I have never sampled a shoo-in. The writing onÂ this bottle credits the Mayans and their respect for cocoa as an inspiration for what is sure to be another wonderful beer from a marvelous brewery. On to the chocolaty goodness. This ale pours a dark mat black color that is completely opaque, producing a number of inches of rich brown head that is quite frothy and lingers for some time. Like other beers from their Blackwater series this brew has an impressive nose. As soon as you get close to the cup you will want to eat a chocolate cake as creamy cocoa scents are intense and dominate. If you try to ignore the chocolate aromas you get a little bit of malt and some alcohol as well. The flavor is quite nice, heavily roasted malt is dominate reminding you that even if you are drinking a chocolate beer it is still a stout. Chocolate notes compliment the malt very well and I notice a cherry like flavor as well right behind though I think it is largely from some sweetness in the malt. The roasted flavors are a bit bitter but the smoothness of this ale almost overpowers it. Once again Southern Tier has managed to make an impressively alcoholic 11% ABV brew incredibly drinkable with almost no ethanol taste. Body is medium and the mouthfeel is quite creamy and smooth. Though this beer has some sweet components fans of big strong stouts will still appreciate this brew as its flavor is largely of roasted dark malts. A very good choice on a cold day such as today or for anyone who doesn’t oppose dark malts and would like to try something unique and chocolaty. Another wonderful display of the talent at Southern Tier and something I would drink regularly if only it were more available and a bit less expensive. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
December 12th, 2008 beckel
Yesterday I found myself compelled to visit the Edina liquor store across from Southdale on my way home from work and I was pleased to find a number of brews I wanted to try, including this bottle of Hop Juice I have here in front of me. Recently I have had the opportunity to try a number of brews from Two Brothers and have yet to be disappointed so I am very excited to try this Double India Pale Ale part of their Artisan series of ales, as it is designed for hopheads such as myself packing a wonderful 100.1 IBUs produced from a pound of fresh northwest hops per barrel. This beer pours a vibrant bright red color that is completely translucent producing about a half inch of creme colored head that mostly settles in a few minutes leaving a ring around the liquid level as well as lacing around the glass. Aroma is impressive, nice and hoppy, slightly floral but still smooth and almost sweet with almost no alcohol detected. Hop Juice is the perfect name for this beer, I think I feel what the brewers were thinking when they came up with it. The mouthfeel of this beer makes me feel like I’m drinking grape juice though it is less syrupy and hop flavored instead. The flavor of this beer is very hoppy but not overwhelmingly bitter. Citrus flavors compliment nicely and floral flavors are present but not particularly heavy. Smooth caramelized malt flavors are wonderfully integrated into this beer giving this hoppy ale a nice balance but managing to take nothing away from the hops. Though this brew clocks in at a solid 9.9% ABV you won’t notice until you’ve had a glass. Not exactly what I was expecting when I purchased this bottle but exactly what Two Brothers describes on their website and an impressive twist on the style. This is probably the most drinkable Imperial IPA I have ever had the opportunity to try, very good. The only thing I can complain about is that I don’t have another bottle in the fridge. A bit on the pricey side but more than worth it. If you are a fan of strong IPA’s you will undoubtedly enjoy this interesting slightly sweeter take on the style, and if your not into hops, well you won’t; but maybe you will learn that you don’t mind hops because of the remarkable variety of flavors a hoppy ale can create. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
December 1st, 2008 beckel
I didn’t allow myself too much opportunity to sample the various Dark Horse offerings when I went to their release party at Stub & Herbs so when I saw Scotty Karate, their Scotch Ale, on the shelves I couldn’t help but grab a 6-pack. Apparently this brew is named after a local one man band who sings “punk country songs” from Marshall, MI where Dark Horse is brewed. The label of this beer is also very cool, it states that it was done by James Mestamaker from Austin, TX who is apparently the first guest artist for this brew so it will be neat to see what they choose next batch, good shit. I don’t know much about Dark Horse but they look like they know how to have a good time and I am excited to try more of their big beers when the opportunity arises, particularly their Double IPA and Barley Wine, hopefully these will make it to the stores soon. This ale pours a mat black color with slight red hues present particularly when brought to light. Head is less than half an inch and light tan in color, dissipating quite rapidly. Aroma is of roasted malts, caramel apples and a bit like fresh bread lightly spiced with cinnamon, very nice. After drinking the first bottle of this brew I had a new found respect for Dark Horse, their Sapient Trip Ale was good, but this ale is marvelous. Flavor is somewhat sweet, smooth and slightly creamy though still crisp. Cherry flavors are subtle and sweet but this ale is also a bit smoky, then nicely bitter with a hint of alcohol that is quickly nullified by the nice malt flavors rounding off this beer. Though this beer packs a 9.75% ABV all of the nice but subtle flavors of this ale do a very good job hiding it. The mouthfeel is a bit creamy but the body is relatively light. Though this ale is mostly a sipper it is quite easy to drink if you are used to strong brew, I wish I had another. Definitely a good choice any evening you would like to enjoy a good drink. Give it a shot and ride your bike.