Monday, August 8, 2016

BD in a Flying Dog: Brewhouse Rarities Cold Press Coffee Porter

type: coffee porter
origin: Frederick, MD
price: $12/6-pack
ABV: 6%
NSP: 10.7

During the course of this blog I've come to expect good-to-great things from FD, and this one-off holds true to my expectation. Without the coffee this would be, basically, a great robust porter (even though I almost hate the style), but FD has added cold brew from [not sure where] and making it rich in roasted malt and coffee bean flavors in a balanced way. At 6.0% there's a decent little punch too. Enjoy fresh though: coffee doesn't last forever, ya know.

No Steadman Art, just some of this.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Fort Point Park

type: hoppy session wheat ale
origin: San Francisco, CA
price: $10.99/6-pack
ABV: 4.7%
NSP: 9.1

Villager was my first introduction to FP, and I was pretty stoked as you can see from my knob-slobbering. But I am even more stoked now, and am having trouble finding enough knob to slob, because this is a fantastic beer that edges towards Grunion in shonkability and flavor. Magnificent balance of wheat and Citra hops that begs you to kill the entire 6-pack and not share any with your wife or friends. It's understated yet complex, soft on the tongue but intensely hop-bittered with an incredible aromatic presence. It's one of those beers that is so well done you instantly forget about all the sub-par offerings by the myriad ale slingers in Cali these days. So, I'm looking forward to taking down a bunch of these after a long sesh at Planet Granite. There will definitely be some hardcore chilling at Crissy field.

All aboard the Shonk train.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Green Flash / Alpine Handshake IPA

Pretty delicious ipa as the Brawley Inn, where the pool is much hotter than the hottub!
Posted by Non-Snob Beer Reviews on Tuesday, January 12, 2016
type: IPA
origin: San Diego, CA
price: either $5, or $10/22 oz depending if you're at the Alpine brewery or not
ABV: 7.5%
NSP: 9.8

My guess is that in the process of dialing in the scaled up version of Duet or Pure Hoppiness (both finally fantastic versions of the original, btw), they took a misstep that turned out to be pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty nice. This is nice. Real nice. Pretty nice even.

Drinking this reminds me of the good ole' days when IPAs were amazing. Well, they still are, but because everyone this side of the world makes an IPA, it's easy to forget that feeling. Like, remember when you first had Duet? Or Heady? Yeah, me too.

Of course this is nowhere comparable to those experiences, but it reminds me that yes, Green Flash does make excellent IPA. Or is it Alpine? Or both?

Even though the NSP is below my arbitrary threshold of 10 — slightly — I'm giving it a rubs the lotion rating:

Posting a post within a post [edit: within a post] is so meta. Also - fantastic beer.
Posted by Non-Snob Beer Reviews on Monday, February 1, 2016

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Fort Point Villager

type: "San Francisco style" IPA
origin: (see above)
price: $11/6-pack
ABV: 6.3%
NSP: 12.0

Since leaving the hyper-saturated San Diego beer market, I have been a bit depressed at the state of affairs in the Bay Area. Sure, there's Anchor (6-mo waiting list to visit), RR (6 hr wait), Lag (generally solid, but now crowded as punk), Rare Barrel (all sour, definitely not sessionable), Cellarmaker (hit-or-miss), and a few others. Any of those will cost you half a day of driving and a ding on your FasTrak ticker.

Anyway, Fort Point came on the scene about a year ago (or so) with about as loud of an entry as a faint dribble from a flacid weiner. They were supposedly making beer, and making it in a rawkin' rad location near Crissy field (tucked under the Golden Gate bridge); but it's taken them quite a while to get distributed outside of city limits, and of course there's no tasting room (yet?).

So, with hopes of reversing my Bay Area brewery grumpiness I'm trying FP's shit with a palate completely free of expectation. Could be dogshit. Could be gold.

And... this is a solid IPA -- one I could be proud to drink heavily.

I have no clue what an SF-style IPA is supposed to mean, but I guess it represents FP trying to plant the flag early on, before Anchor gets to it.  What it translates too in my mouth, though, is a beer with color and clarity that reminds me of Nelson or Falco with a nice light-to-medium body, a great set of aromas (fruity, hoppy), and heavy but balanced bitterness.  The can has an interesting texture in your hand too.

If I have any issue, it's with the hint of ash imposed by certain hops (haven't figured out the culprit yet).  Overall, I'm mighty pleased with this though.

I shall continue trying your shit, FP. In earnest.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Grape & Grain San Mateo

227 S San Mateo Dr, San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 342-9463

OH SICK 8 TAPS. Call 911, there's too much beer in San Mateo! Normally this wouldn't piss me off, but I just got kicked out of the place b/c the moment my wife walked in with our 2-month-old the owner told us to leave -- this was just after I witnessed him showing off a Ferrari to some yokel.  Oh, right, she's a 'minor' ( so "sorry parents".  Go right ahead and pull your head out of your ass Mr Italian Sportscar.

The worst part is the straight up boring/annoying drinkers that show up:

Let me tell you guys what really makes my beer-boner die off: hearing tech bros talk about "integration strategies",...
Posted by Non-Snob Beer Reviews on Monday, November 9, 2015

If there's one thing going on that doesn't piss me off it's that they often have beers by Fieldwork:

Fieldwork Brewing Company has yet to disappoint, and Misfit Stream is no exception. Makes me less bummed about the brewery situation in the Bay Area.
Posted by Non-Snob Beer Reviews on Monday, November 9, 2015

In summary, I'll probably drink beer here again, since there seems to be no better option. Thanks again Bay Area Beer Vacuum!! 


Thursday, November 12, 2015

21st Amendment Toaster Pastry

type: India red ale
origin: San Leandro, CA
price: $5.60/24oz can
ABV: 7.6%
NSP: 9.5

In preparation for this review I sifted through the archives in search of comparisons. Based upon my non-snob research, here's a ranked list of hoppy red ales, with #1 being... well... number 1 in my book:

  1. Blazing World
  2. Hop Head Red
  3. 1881
  4. Legendary Red
and in reverse order ranked by my least favorite:
  1. 5 am Saint
  2. Pinstripe
and beers I haven't tried but would be interested in doing so:
What seems to be consistent across all poorly executed red ales is an under-attenuated biscuit-malt backbone and the taste of dishwater and metal followed by a bitter finish.  It seems like making it an 'India' style red ale is a fucking moot point when the shit tastes like squeezing out water from an old sponge into your mouth.

Of course I'm exaggerating. This is OK, strong, relatively good NSP, and in a sweet-ass can next to some Bud heavy tallboys.  When it warms a bit, there is some amount of fruitiness from the hops, which helps a lot to reverse the emotional damage from the sponge-chug.  

But in the end it's basically a forgettable addition to an already overcrowded beer fridge. That could change in the future, but only if they manage to scrub out that dirtiness.

The can says the name of the beer is an homage to the previous tenants of their new San Leandro facility, a Pop Tart manufacturer.  I'm somewhat confused about this, since 21st Amendment is a good brewery with sometimes world class stuff, but not in this case.  So, let's just say this is more like an homage to figuring out new equipment.  Here's to hoping 21st buys new sponges. 

[ And no, dipshit, it doesn't taste like a Pop Tart. ]


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Against the Grain - Citra Ass Down

type: double IPA
origin: Louisville, KY
price: $14/4-pack
ABV: 8.2%
NSP: 11.1

In honor of the latest Louisville basketball controversy, I think it's appropriate to review a beer from Louisville, and I'm a sucker for DIPAs in the 16oz can format.

So... Against the Grain... never heard of them, but that should no longer be a surprise given the rapid growth of breweries in the US

The amazingness of Heady sent a shock wave through the beer community that I think we're just starting to see reflections of.  This seems more-or-less like an attempt at a Heady clone, but nobody beats the Wiz!  It is damn fine though, and probably ridic fresh at the brewery.  Quite a well balanced offering that does better in the glass, IMO, even if the name has that classic dumb-hop-pun feel.  Its's a bit too sticky sweet at the end to be really amazing, but it's stiff, and hoppy.  I'm down with it FO SHO, plus it's got hella good NSP.

10/10 would crush again

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Modern Times Fruitland

type: flavored gose
origin: San Diego, CA
price: $7/22oz
ABV: 4.8%
NSP: 4.5

Having been away from San Diego for over a year now, Modern Times is one of a few rays of sunshine that reminds me how great that city is for beer.

The description: "Sour - Cherry - Gose". The color of the beer is very nearly the same as the color on the label, so before even tasting it, you're already thinking of Sour Patch kids, which floods my mouth with saliva. And it's all those things!  I'm amazed that the sour cherry addition doesn't completely overwhelm the delicacy of the gose: it seems they got the mixture correct. I find it pleasing, but perhaps a bit too acidic. I'd like it to be slightly less so I can get through the bomber without dramatically altering the ph level of my body chemistry.

Primes you for this, then tastes like this without all the sugar.

I've railed on their choice of label content before (see Oneida). I don't imagine my words made a bit of difference, but I'm pretty OK with this label. That is -- it doesn't annoy me.

Hey guys, I wanna get weird with you!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

BD in a Flying Dog: The Fear

type: imperial pumpkin ale
origin: Frederick, MD
price: $15/6-pack
ABV: 9%
NSP: 12.8

There's been a severe drought in reviews on this site.  Sorry about that.  I can only imagine it stems from existing in a beer world where things change daily; it's hard to find inspiration in a sea of session IPAs and "hot" new breweries with bottle societies.  Fuck that.  I want some good ole' steadfast Flying Dog, which only rarely disappoints.

There's only been one pumpkin-inspired beer that I can remember loving and that we reviewed: Good Gourd (also imperial). That was an incredible beer.

But this is an incredible beer too, and it comes with rad artwork, is waaay cheaper, and doesn't require getting in line with mouth-breathers or dealing with the seedy underworld that is bottle-sharing.

This is definitely made with pumpkin, and definitely imperial. It's also phenomenally balanced: throwing a few down means you're going to be saying some dumb shit to your pregnant wife on the other side of the couch (me, last night).  There's lots of peppery cola flavor that I can't get enough of in beers like this, and that BJCP thinks is a flaw -- fuck them, but thankfully it doesn't resemble pumpkin pie too strongly. That would suck. I'm trying to get drunk heeeeerrre!

Another think I really love is the contrast between the fine, light-creamy colored head, and the deep amber of the base.  I'm drawn too it, like Steadman's drawn to splattered paint:

Fear mongering has no place in the world of beer.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Modern Times Oneida

type: hoppy pale ale
origin: San Diego, CA
price: $10.50/4-pack/16oz
ABV: 5.8%
NSP: 10.4

The hot shit right now is to make a "session IPA" -- a super hoppy pale ale.  And just in time for summer Modern Times pumps out some hot shit right here.  Full on fruity and floral hoppage that makes your mouth water.  The body is as mild as mild-bodied gets, and there's a pleasant tang of acidity on the finish.  But the hoppiness is not overdone, and nicely complements the malts.  It's just a fantastic sessionable ale, or whatever you want to call it.  I'm placing this at number two in my list of favorite MT offerings, right behind Blazing World.

I'd also like to take the opportunity to comment on the can...

The description on it says the name of this beer is inspired by the Oneida Community for reasons that include "complex marriage, male continence, and mutual criticism" -- they lifted that directly from the Wikipedia page, FYI.  But what MT doesn't mention is that 1 of 10 people in the Oneida community had a bureaucratic role (can you fucking imagine that nightmare??), older women were encouraged to "mentor" younger males in the ways of sex (basically, they serially committed statutory rape), they practiced eugenics to "purify" their community, and that the commune turned its silverware business into one of the largest for-profit silverware manufacturer for over a century (Oneida Limited).

So, MT, please just stick to the cute little "danksauce whales" style of label adornment, since it doesn't require maintaining consistent views concerning complex philosophical arguments about communism and social engineering, bro.