Big Thanks To Insurance Companies

Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA

April 1st, 2009 beckel

Today I have a rather exciting beer that unfortunately is probably quite hard to find any longer. I bought my four pack a few weeks ago from The Four Firkins and a recent review from dirtyspeed of Friday Night Beer inspired me to finally get around to writing my own. As you should know by now I am a fan of big beers and I particularly like the idea behind this one. The fine folk of Dark Horse Brewing wanted to make a big IPA and figured what better to do than double the recipe of their well received Crooked Tree IPA minus the water of course. This beer pours a very attractive deep ruby red color that is quite translucent and obviously filtered. Head was only about a half a finger and quite white in color. The aroma of this beer is full of fruit like malt aromas as well as plenty of floral hops. Just a little hint of dates and a nice fermented cherry scent are complimented by an array of subtle floral hops and very little bitterness though you can certainly tell it is one alcoholic brew. Flavor is quite interesting, initially I get mostly fermented fruit flavors, primarily a sweet cherry that transitions into some floral flavors and a moderate amount of bitterness. Though there are a number of contrasting flavors in this beer it is unable to hide its intense 13.6% ABV but considering how strong it is it was a valiant effort. This beer is more malty than most Imperial IPAs out there but it is certainly an interesting creation. Probably not the best beer for many people but if you are adventurous you will be happy to have imbibed. A darn tasty beer if you don’t mind some extra alcohol. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA

Dark Horse Fore Smoked Stout

February 28th, 2009 beckel

So the time has come for our fourth installment of the Dark Horse Brewing Holiday Stout Series. This time around we have Fore a Smoked Stout that is sure to entice our taste buds. After pouring this bottle there was a good layer of sediment stuck to the bottom of the bottle which is somewhat odd, we’ll have to see what the other bottles are like. This ale pours a solid jet black that couldn’t be penetrated with light if you wanted it to. Producing less than a finger of beautiful chocolate brown head most of which dissipates within a minute or two with only a thin ring remaining around the glass. Aroma is quite smokey but not too overwhelming and is complimented by other nice roasted malt scents and a bit of grain that reminds me of oats. Wow this is a rich roasted Ale. Tastes mostly of roasted malts that create a number of coffee and smoked flavors as well as a few sweeter toffee like flavors once your palate gets used to the intense roast flavors in this ale. The body is a solid medium and the mouthfeel is quite silky and rich but it still goes down pretty easily provided you can get used to the roasted flavors. RB suggests that this beer is 8% ABV and I would be inclined to concur though you certainly can’t pick up any alcoholic flavor with the intense malt profile of this brew. More roasted than I would typically prefer but this is a darn tasty brew that I am happy to have 3 more of in my fridge. Would compliment any grilled meal, particularly red meat wonderfully. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Dark Horse Fore Smoked Stout

Dark Horse Tres Blueberry Stout

February 25th, 2009 beckel

Today I have a beer in my hand I have been anticipating for some time. As the third installment of Dark Horse Brewing’s Holiday Stout Series Tres offers us some blueberry to add to our stout. On Monday I made my way out to The Four Firkins to grab some goodies they had just gotten in, namely Winter Warlock, Hop Stoopid and Fore (Tres had been in stock for a bit but luckily there was still a few four packs hanging around) but as always I found a few more goodies that I couldn’t help but get; Southern Tier’s Back Burner Barleywine and a four pack of Young’s Double Chocolate Stout because I still haven’t given it a try. I happily loaded my bag full of brew and merrily biked my way home with little concern even though I felt a can depressing slightly as it bumped against my back. Taking Minnetonka Blvd home brought me to a Chipotle and I figured it would be a decent dinner as I didn’t feel like preparing anything and haven’t consumed their food in some time. After waiting in line for a few minutes and watching my bike carefully I exited with fajita in hand and set my bag near my bike to secure my grub. Sadly upon opening my bag I noticed a large amount of liquid on the cardboard of the four packs and the faint smell of chocolate. Luckily upon investigation the only victim was one can of Young’s which I duly opened and finished the last few sips of before throwing away. I don’t think I’ve ever had a can explode in my bag before, perhaps the nitrogen widget contributed to its demise. Oh well at least all of the bottles survived and I didn’t have to pull my hands out of my bag covered in blood like I did the time a growler broke. Short of the can of Young’s the only other victims were the labels of the Tres and Fore who’s carrying packs soaked up the good stuff like a sponge, they’re still intact you just might notice some stout abuse in the pictures. But I digress because I have a lovely blueberry aroma calling to me. This ale pours with about two fingers of rather dark milk chocolate head giving this pitch black beer a lovely appearance. Aroma is just what I expected, a wonderful slightly sweet blueberry scent that transitions into rich dark malt creating a nice roasted smell with a bit of coffee as well. Flavor is very interesting. Blueberry comes out immediately but is rather subtle and a nice compliment to the dark roasted malt flavors of this brew, particularly the chocolate flavors. There is a good amount of roasted malt flavor but it is likely not roasted for too long as it has a much smoother mouthfeel and taste than most Stouts reminding me of a Milk Stout. The body is light for a stout and with a 4.5% ABV this is an incredibly drinkable beer. I would even give it the  session beer distinction if only it were a bit lighter in body and mouthfeel, but I’m not quite sure how one would do that with a Stout and not make it seem like drinking dirty water. The more I drink this beer the more I enjoy the additional flavors the blueberry creates (and the more I wonder if it really is only 4.5%). Probably not a beer I would buy too much of in the future (largely because I am too much in love with their Scotty Karate [review]) but a damn tasty beer I would gladly consume if it were offered and am very pleased to have had the opportunity to sample and a wonderful example of how additional components can enhance a brew. Anyone who likes stouts and does not mind the addition of some real fruit will likely enjoy this brew as will those who may be hesitant to approach dark beers but enjoy chocolate and blueberries. Would work wonderfully as a lighter desert beer or a compliment to a nice creamy dish or fresh fruits and veggies wonderfully. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Dark Horse Tres Blueberry Stout

Dark Horse Too Cream Stout

January 25th, 2009 beckel

Today I am enjoying my last two bottles of Dark Horse Brewing’s Too, a Milk Stout and 2nd in their five beer Holiday Stout Series. Their One an Oatmeal Stout [review] was simple yet enjoyable and the Too is quite similar. This brew pours a very dark black color that allows no light through. Very little head is formed but it is a nice dark tan color. Aroma is full of dark nicely roasted malts, coffee and chocolate aromas are lovely. This ale encompasses many dark roasted malt flavors that impart a slight smokiness all of which are toned down a bit by the creamy flavors present. Though this stuff looks a bit like oil its body is reasonably light for a stout and the mouthfeel is a bit creamy and very smooth. With a very well hidden 8% ABV this ale shows you can create a lighter stout that still packs a punch. Those who enjoy a less intense stout will likely appreciate this brew as it is nice and creamy but still has plenty of nice roasted malt flavor. So far I am still most partial to Dark Horse’s Scotty Karate [review] as I feel I find more flavors every time I enjoy a bottle. Can’t wait for the rest of the series to pop up at my local liquor stores, I am particularly curious about the Tres a Blueberry Stout as well as the last in the series Plead the 5th an Imperial Stout. Thanks to Dark Horse for crafting flavorful ales and distributing them to our lovely land of Minnesota, keep it up. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Dark Horse Too Cream Stout

Dark Horse One Oatmeal Stout

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.  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.  A simple ale with a nice underhanded punch. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Dark Horse One Oatmeal Stout

Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale

December 1st, 2008 beckel

Scotty Karate LabelI 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.

Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale

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