Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Origin: San Diego, California
Price: $8.49 per 22 oz
Andy tossed this bad boy into a care package for me about a week ago and I have been salivating waiting to try it. We get a decent number of Ballast offerings in Seattle, but definitely none of the special releases. Hell, I barely saw them when I lived in San Diego. Most of all, I am excited to see an absolutely massive west coast IPA done with belgian yeast. These belgo-hybrids have become some of my favorite offerings, and for the most part I stuck to Stone Cali-Belgique and Ommegang BPA. It is also with good timing since I just reviewed a barrel aged belgo DIPA a few weeks ago in Fort George's North the Seventh.
One word describes this beer: massive. After I popped the cap and was playing with my camera settings I could smell this thing across the room before I poured it. Just a heavenly mix of banana and cloves mixing with some super dank hop aromas. After tasting, it is everything I imagined, just a hearty mix of Cali-Belgique and Sculpin with a few extra points of ABV (most likely from candy sugar according to the website). This also drinks super easy even though its at 133 OBUs and 10%; the belgian yeast mellows out these characteristics and allows you to enjoy the great citrus hops mixed with the fruity belgian aspects. If this was on tap, I would drink it AD.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Origin: Escondido, California
Price: $6.99 per 22 oz
So I bought this one based on the absurdity of the style: a smoked imperial saison. Cherrywood smoked at that. I can't really think of any imperial saisons off the top of my head (would probably be classified a belgian tripel), and definitely no smoked ones. The only types in this genre that are smoked are rauchbiers, so thats all I have to go off of. As a side note, this was brewed in memory of a Stone employee and there is a full overview on the back which you should take a look at. Also, the name is not random: the rosid family of plants include cherry trees, so burning rosids for the cherry smoke.
So onto the beer. The color is absolutely gorgeous, just a perfect dark gold. It completely lacks any head and the smell does not have any smokiness to it. I definitely view this as a positive since I was quite afraid of being overwhelmed by this. The smell is just a very nice pleasant belgian saison with a decent amount of banana popping through. The taste further confirms the smell, but a touch of the smoke comes through. The smoke is probably only about 10% of the flavor profile, but it reminds me slightly of a fruit flavored hookah (maybe apple?). Everything else is that banana/coriander/clove belgian tripel/saison profile. I would definitely try get this again since its well balanced and has a good NSP.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Origin: Brooklyn, New York and Copenhagen, Denmark
Price: $17 per 22 oz
I must say, ever since hearing about it this beer, I have wanted to try it. For this one, Evil Twin used 1000 glazed doughnuts as part of the wort, and the after pictures are reminiscent of a snuff film. The base is similar to Imperial Biscotti Break, which is a fantastic beer, and the gimmick in this one is so ridiculous, I couldn't pass up.
First impression: the pour is incredibly viscous, probably the thickest beer I have seen. Very close in consistency to Bourbon County or Surly Darkness. It definitely had me worried about the possibility of diabetus in a bottle, however the first sip took my worries away. It is sweet, don't get me wrong, but not super sickly sweet to where you wouldn't be able to finish the bottle. There is a really nice strong roast on the malt with a bit of coffee accent that cuts through the doughnut part of the beer. And as for the doughnut part, its very muted. Really the only thing that remains is a faint vanilla quality and a slight bit of the sugar glaze that probably went unfermented. I should note as it warms up, some more of the doughnut quality comes out, but not as much as you expect. It is definitely interesting, well balanced, and worth a try. Really the only downside here is the price (although its not the worst NSP I've seen around here).
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
origin: Maui, HI
Mostly everything we get from Maui is brewed with something else: fruit, coconut, whatever. So, I was somewhat bummed to see this had no specialty addition. Just a plain old brown ale? Really? I'll give it a shot because I have a lot of respect for Maui B.C. -- they make some excellent beer, and even made me reconsider my stance against porters.
Crisp malty flavors, but not overly "brown", meaning you get a nice level of bitterness, and some chocolate and nutty flavors. Nothing outstanding, but pleasant. As you'd perhaps expect with any brown ale, though, there's a lingering coating in your mouth that's not terribly endearing. I don't think it's a flaw more than it is me hating on brown ales.
To me this tastes more like a very light chocolate stout, but it's pleasant enough that I could see enjoying it in paradise, even though I know nothing about the town of Lahaina.
Maui Lahaina Town Brown
Thursday, January 30, 2014
origin: Half Moon Bay, CA
My brother, who used to live in Petaluma (read that as "default yearly trips to Lagunitas and Russian River"), just moved to Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco (now read that as "the end of my default yearly trips to Lagunitas and Russian River").
On my visit over the holidays, he was awesome enough to pick up a nice set of the only local brewery's product, including this IPA. I find this to be a very nice English-style IPA (think Big Eye), with an appropriately level of hops for being brewed literally on the western edge of the U.S.. The aromas are pleasant, but not outstanding. The cloudiness of the beer is a little off-putting, but overall it was very enjoyable.
It's definitely not the finest IPA in the land, but I would be very happy if I was a local and this was brewed just up the road (read that as "new default yearly trips to HMBBC").
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
origin: Anaheim, CA
The Citra hop has been used extensively by nearly any brewery worth their salt. It's a hop where the flavors suggested by its name actually show up in the beer. People like citrusy shit so why not use the hell out of a citrusy hop, right?
This is Cup of Coffee in the Big Time, folks. Big, bountiful aromas of sweet fruity hops, followed by bountiful sweet, fruity hop flavors laid over a really clean, crisp malt base. This is a single-hop beer that really works, but more than that I could find myself buying this regularly if the NSP comes up a bit. Until then, Flying Dog has the best valued Citra-hopped beast.
Noble's done quite well around this blog, and this is further proof that -- as the Macho Man might say -- the CREAM RISES TO THE TOP!
Thursday, January 23, 2014
origin: San Diego (Carlsbad location), CA
price: $10/6-pack 16oz
Nice light body with mellow malt backbone, and a solid punch of bitterness and floral, hoppy aromas. Even though the ABV is low, it still has noticeable booziness to it because the malt backbone is, well, really fuggin' mellow. It tastes a tad buttery, which I'm sure is not supposed to be there, but those flavors aren't overwhelming and may disappear over time.
Surely this is not the best session IPA around, but it's probably the best value around for the style. It's simply a no-brainer purchase in a time when newish breweries and ebay hawks find it amusing to inflate prices.
The Patron St. Egman recently asked me for a recommendation for a low alcohol beer to take with him on a trip to Norway (you're allowed to bring beer under something like 4.6%), and all I could think of was Fractional IPA. Fractional is delicious, but it's more-or-less a seasonal release; now I can whole-heartedly recommend this to him. Although I doubt it will be found in other cities, Stone threw a party for their release, so it has a good chance of getting out of SD, brah.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
website (Do they even have one?? Probably not.)
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but The Perfect Crime is a brewing outfit comprised of the leaders of Stillwater and Evil Twin, apparently contract brewing around the country, spreading their gypsy brewing tears. The name likely stuck after the Stone collab, and after tasting this I hope they continue.
How is it as a quad? Not as massive as Decadence '12, far less clingy and unique than to the Stoic, and not as "refined" as Baby Tree -- somewhere in the middle, lets say. All the flavors you'd expect are there in large amounts: raisin, molasses, booze, wheat bread, spice, tempered acidity, and more. It's also super easy to slug back (read that as "dangerous to your social skills in public").
By far I can't rank this as best in class, but it's pretty damn good. If the NSP ticks up slightly, I'd say pounce on it; and definitely pounce if you see it at your corner beer bar (note my previous comments though).
Friday, January 17, 2014
Origin: Seattle, Washington
Price: $15 per 22 oz
Searching around all the 'beer-talk' blogs, the only beers from Seattle proper that people really want are this and another Fremont offering, the Kentucky Dark Star. I decided to pick up a few of these to send back home and since they are still selling this around town, I decided to crack it open to see if I should buy some more before its sold out. Long story short, I think I will pick up a few more to age. This thing absolutely reeks and tastes of bourbon, which is good since the base beer is a winter ale and that is normally not my thing. There is quite a strong essence of vanilla as well. Even though the flavors are bold, there is not a lot of alcohol heat on it and everything is very well balanced. With a year or two of aging, the nut-punch of bourbon should be mellowed out a bit and this will be a phenomenal beer.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Origin: Raleigh, North Carolina
The lady got me this in Asheville when she was hiking the AT back in June. I think she just went to a coffee roaster, so she had coffee on the brain and decided to buy me the first thing local with coffee in it. I definitely have no problem with that train of thought. And double plus for getting me a beer from a brewery that I have never seen before.
So onto the beer. First impression: this is well balanced. Everything is in check, no flavors are off-putting, it has just the right amount of flavor and complexity to keep you interested. The coffee is incredibly subtle and reminds me of a mild cold brewed ice coffee. The roastiness is also very mellow. Its definitely bitter, but doesn't leave a bad aftertaste. It reminds me most of having a slice of tiramisu with cup of coffee, except its better cause it gets you drunk. The only downside is I don't have more of it.