Entertaining Posts From The Beer Blogosphere #3

March 13th, 2009 beckel

First I’d like to give some love to a new Minnesota web site that has been entertaining me for the past few weeks that I first learned about thanks to The Four Firkins newsletter last month. The Heavy Table is based in the Twin Cities and is dedicated to informing us about happenings in the food and drink world of the Upper Midwest with an emphasis on quality and locavore. Keep up the good work.

Though I don’t drink their beer too often I’ve always assumed that the folks from Boulder Beer Company had good hearts with their creatively named brews such as Hazed and Infused and now The Full Pint further reaffirms this with news that they have become the first group in Boulder to adopt a city bike path and take responsibility of its maintenance. Props to Boulder Beer for understanding the importance of cycling infrastructure and its proper care, I hope to see others follow in their foot steps, or tire treads.

For those of you who haven’t already read a dozen posts on the subject, Beer Wars is coming! April 16th will be the live showing which is quite a unique approach. Not only will we get to see what is sure to be a solid movie about the craft we love so much but for the reasonable ticket price of only $15 you will also be treated to a live HD discussion with Ben Stein and many members of the craft beer industry who were interviewed for this film and hear their take on the video they have just watched for the first time (just like you).  Check out their website to purchase a ticket.

Though I usually leave it to others to post new beer news I can’t pass this one up The Beer Spot writes to tell us about Oak Aged Unearthly from Southern Tier (which ever so conveniently is currently in my fridge – and quite delicious I must add) but even more so an ale called Iniquity a Imperial Black IPA (also referred to as an India Brown Ale) a very rarely brewed style that I have only had the opportunity to sample one of. Which happens to be the lovely Dogfish Head’s India Brown Ale which you will eventually see a review of as I still have two bottles waiting to be consumed. So who’s stocking Iniquity first? Because I want some!

Then we have a very interesting graph that Chris over at Beer Activist links us to showing us how much water is used to produce various beverages we consume. I’m glad to see I’m doing my part by continuing to drink beer instead of coffee 😉

Water Needed

Back to some more Minnesota news MNBeer posts to let us know our own Summit Brewing will be releasing a new year round brew shortly called Horizon Red Ale that is supposed to be a nicely hopped Red Ale. I am excited to give this brew a chance and hope that they exceed my expectations with a nice hoppy but well balanced brew.

Summit Horizon Red Ale

Last but definitely not least is this awesome picture provided by Stuff About Minneapolis. I can almost taste it’s Premium quality.

Grain Belt Bitches!

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale

March 12th, 2009 beckel

Today I get to enjoy a beer that has been tempting me from my fridge for far too long. I was first alerted of what is sure to be a wonderful beer by my buddie Dirtyspeed from Friday Night Beer a few weeks ago and was happy to see it on the shelves of The Four Firkins while picking up my Tres and other goodies. Lagunitas makes some delicious ales and I can’t wait to see what they produce when they take 102 IBUs and craft an Imperial IPA. The limited post on Lagunitas Brewing’s web page currently states “So Hoppy that it threatens to remove the enamel from one’s teeth.” so I figure the only sane thing to do is dig right in! This ale pours a rather light completely translucent copper color that would make me assume less of this ale if it weren’t for the massive hop aroma I encountered as soon as I opened the bottle. Pure white head was a solid three plus fingers that remained for a good ten minutes with a very thin layer persisting indefinitely and a good deal of lacing remaining all around the glass. Aroma is wonderfully hoppy, grapefruit and other tart citruses as well as a hint of pine and a tad of bitterness that is easily masked by a sweet orange citrus and a little bit of malty sweetness. Flavor is quite nice if your a fan of hops. I get largely orange citrus that is much less sweet than in the aroma and a very hoppy and bitter finish with some nice pine and grapefruit hints. A sweet malt flavor is present as well but is easily distracted from by the massive hop profile of this beer.  For a brew with so much hops the body is light and the mouthfeel in only a little sticky. With a 7.7% ABV this ale is rather conservative for an Imperial brew but I think the sheer amount of hops used makes up for it. Not quite as easy to drink as their Maximus IPA [review] but a perfect beer for hop heads and one I would happily consume any day. Though this ale is not for those weary of hops the sweet malt hint in this brew does a fine job balancing out the bitterness and making it not too over powering for those who may be afraid of an incredibly bitter brew and as usual the more you allow it to warm up the more noticeable the sweetness. Would be a solid beer for any spicy meal, yet it does not murder the palate with bitterness. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale

Town Hall Twisted Reality Barleywine & Moylan’s Double Kilt Lifter

March 9th, 2009 beckel

So I’ve been far too busy recently, but what are you going to do, tiz the way of life sometimes. Last Tuesday I had a very enjoyable ride over to our local Brewpub, Town Hall for their Lion Brewing & Moylan’s Brewing tapping. Though I am a fan of the flavorful simplicity offered by Lions Imperial Stout and curious what they have to offer in their Imperial Lager I didn’t end up consuming either as I was distracted with the Barleywine wisely named Twisted Reality from Town Hall that had just been tapped on Monday. The ale pours a nice date like color with some nice red hues and is incredibly opaque allowing almost no light through. Aroma had a decent amount of citrus initially but it was immediately nullified by the caramely sweet malt characteristics and a solid dose of bitterness. Flavor is of delicious pitted fruits that are complimented with rich smooth malts and a good dose of bittering hops to round it off. Enjoyable floral and citrus notes are present but very subtle due to the massive bittering, I detect mostly orange. Head is a creamy tan color but not much was present as it was a bar pour into a modest sized sniffer. Body is quite light for a Barleywine and the mouthfeel is smooth making this solid 9.9% ABV brew very drinkable. I was quite pleased with the brew and would encourage anyone else who likes big beers to try it. The balance of flavors was done very well and I am a big fan of the wonderful hoppy bitterness present. After my first Barleywine I couldn’t help but try some Moylan’s Double Kilt Lifter as I have never had the opportunity to try the double strength stuff and thought the original Kilt Lifter was decent. The aroma was quite sweet with some malt coming through but largely sugar and a cherry like scent as well as other pitted fruits and a hint of sherry. Color is very deep but bright red and slightly translucent. Flavor is sweet and relatively fruity, almost a bit tart. Body is amazingly light and this brew goes down pretty smoothly. Alcohol is a bit more noticeable than some ale’s because of the sweetness but not particularly intense considering its 11% ABV. I did not realize this until now but apparently it was a special for their 1000th batch brewed. Similar to what Town Hall just did with their Imperial IPA, though unfortunately I missed that. The Double Kilt Lifter was a bit too much on the sweet side for me, but you have to get those sugars to ferment from somewhere. Not a bad beer I could just do with a bit more bittering to balance. I ended up finishing the evening with a few more Barleywines and another, this time full pint size glass of Moylan’s Double Kilt lifter when the distributor arrived with a few of their brewery glasses for us to take home. I also ended up with a good amount of Lion Brewing schwag including a small or medium womens shirt….so if anyone has a gal that likes Lion Brewing let me know, though I’m tempted to wear it just for good measure. Hooray for good beer, good conversations, and a safe ride home. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Town Hall Twisted Reality Barleywine

Town Hall Twisted Reality Barleywine

Moylan's Double Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale

Moylan’s Double Kilt Lifter & Sweet Potato Fries

Big Sky Olde Bluehair

March 4th, 2009 beckel

Today I have a limited release brew #1147 of 1800 from the folk of Big Sky Brewing out of Missoula, Montana, Olde Bluehair a Barrel Aged and Bottle Conditioned Barleywine that is sure to be tasty but will doubtfully become a regularly consumed brew as The Four Firkins only received a single case and it has a solid price tag of $15 for the 750ml bottle. I know very little about Big Sky other than they are the makers of the wonderfully named Moose Drool and I’m pretty sure I’ve tried their IPA but I don’t remember much about the flavor of either. Depending on how this experience goes I may have to refresh my memory. When initially pouring this brew many large airy bubbles formed at the top of the glass but as the pour finished and the ale was allowed to cascade a nice two finger off white head was produced which lasted for a few minutes and produced a nice amount of lacing on the glass. Color is like that of a raisin but when brought to light it brightens very nicely and the red hues are more visible though it is still very hazy and opaque. The aroma nice, rich with pitted fruits such as  sweet dates, plums and raisins coming from the malt and just a hint of alcohol. Holy crap. This is a bloody sweet Barleywine. I initially get a lot of sugary flavors which makes me curious to see how much those extra sugars would further ferment over time. Tastes similar to the aroma but even more sweet and intense in the pitted fruit flavors particularly plum as well as a bit of an off creamy vanilla flavor that I have tasted before but can not quite place, I’m thinking creme brulee. The overwhelming sweet flavors in this brew don’t do a very good job of hiding its solid 8.75% ABV but it also isn’t too intense if your used to strong brews. Body is light for a Barleywine but the mouthfeel is strangely creamy. Though I continue to drink it, so far this beer isn’t particularly appealing to me and is in dire need of some hoppy bitterness for balance. I am quite curious how this ale would age and am optimistic that it would be better but probably will not have the opportunity to do such as I can’t justify buying myself another bottle and fear there would be no bitterness what so ever after a few years in the cellar. As I continue drinking I am starting to pick up the faint bitterness in this ale but it is not nearly enough to contrast the massively sweet malt profile. Not a bad beer but it tastes more like desert to me than a Barleywine. I allowed this brew a good 15+ minutes to warm up before consuming but after allowing to warm  close to room temperature this ale and its flavors are certainly a lot more smooth or perhaps I’m just getting more accustomed to its sweet creaminess. If you enjoy sweet malty beers that incorporate pitted fruit flavors this is probably the beer for you. If you are into hoppy flavors I am sad to say stay away. As I said, not a bad beer but really not the beer for me. My favorite thing about beer is that everyone has a different palate and will get different flavors from a beer and appreciate different aspects of a good craft brew so don’t listen to me and…Give it a shot and ride your bike!

Big Sky Olde Bluehair Barleywine