Monday, July 26, 2010

Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat Beer


Type: Wheat Beer, flavored beer, ale
Origin: Eureka, CA
Price: $3.49 per 22 oz
Website

Brewed in the heart of Humboldt County, this beer fits perfectly into the atmosphere. It is so powerful and interesting, it's probably better to be high so you don't have to think about it. The color is like a watered down orange juice, and the unfiltered nature makes it look more like orange juice. As soon as you pour it, the air is engulfed with clementines and tangerines. On the taste, it becomes surprisingly dry and has a bit of hidden bitterness that I was not expecting. This will definitely quench any summer thirst urge.

Alaskan Summer Ale


Type: Ale
Origin: Juneau, AK
Price: $6.99 per 6 pack
Website

I picked up a sixer of Alaskan Summer Ale to go to Steggy's house warming party last week since it was one of the few unique beers at BevMo that was in a reasonable price point for a sixer. I had 4 of these that day, and it was pretty darn good. I wasn't able to write too many notes on it, but I remember it as being a light, sweet ale with a good bitterness profile. It definitely reminds me of summer, but more of a cold rainy summer. They definitely succeeded in capturing the essence of Alaska, and I commend them for not becoming something they are not.

Hornsby's Crisp Apple


Type: Hard Cider
Origin: California
Price: ?

What crap. How can the Crisp Apple be less appley than the regular cider. It is fucking refreshing, but they should be ashamed of their naming conventions.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mendocino Eye of the Hawk Select Ale


Type: Ale, Golden Ale
Origin: Ukiah, CA
Price: $3.29 per 22 oz
Website

Wa wa wee wa. This is a nice beer much. Coming from such a lib state, this is truly a mans beer. And for once on this site, bottle conditioned does not equal shit. The color is a rich amber red that fits perfectly with the red hawk on the label. The head is light and frothy and the taste is divine. The website says the "judicious mix of caramel and pale malted barley, balanced with Cluster, Cascade and Saaz hops gives the Eye its luxurious flavor, substantial mouth-feel and that slightly dry finish." Out-fuckin-standing.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pyramid Snowcap Seasonal Ale


Type: Ale
Origin: Seattle, WA
Price: ?
Website

What a diversion from all the Pyramid brews this one is. I never knew they could create a nutty, bitter product, so kudos to them. When poured in a glass, this looks like a regular coke, but luckily tastes nothing like one. It has a nutty, malty and bitter taste, but a surprisingly sweet smell. Other than that, there really is nothing else to report. Did I like it? Sure it was ok. Would I drink it again? Probably not. Their other products are just much better than this, and I very much dislike Christmas, making this Christmas in July rather daunting. Luckily I only have two of them left.

Shipyard Prelude Special Ale


Type: Ale
Origin: Portland, OR
Price: ?
Website

The Shipyard Prelude was probably one of the most enjoyable of the winter seasonals thus far. It has a orangish brown color and a thick frothy head. So frothy in fact that I think I lost about a quarter of this on the coffee table. It has a sweet citrus/nutty smell and taste, almost as if strong berries were added, giving it an ultimate gimmick factor.

Big Sky Powder Hound Winter Ale


Type: Ale
Origin: Missoula, MT
Price: ?
Website

I have become incredibly lazy on here and have a backlog of 8 beers. The first one is the Big Sky Powder Hound, another Christmas in July beer here. The color is a nice reddish brown, and there is very little head, a common trait of these winter brews. There is absolutely no smell to be found here, and the taste is incredibly light and nutty. It is a simple winter beer, and I would like to taste this when it is fresher. The website says there is "an avalanche of hops that will make you want to say these three words- "I'll have another Powder Hound!" I guess 1 for 2 isn't bad.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pretty Things Jack D'Or, batch 11

type: ale/beer/blend? ("Saison Amercain" to them)
origin: Massachusetts, USA
price: $6/22 oz

At this point in the night I'm blasted, but still trying to maintain and do some reviews. I kindof wish I had tasted this at a different outing, since I would have basically drank beer out of cowboy's boot at that point in the night. I'm surprised my notes were this coherent:

"this is really, really delicious. reminds me of a hef, but it's more of an ale than anything. earthy. citrusy. sharp. fuckin MIT massholes."

That's about all the quality reviewin' you're going to get from me at that point. The point is these boys are onto something. The website is cool as hell too. Bravo, ex-MIT students, your ale project is succeeding.

Allagash Tripel Ale

type: ale
origin: Portland, Maine, USA
price: $10-15/4-pack

Wowwy wowzers. That's certainly an ass-kicking good strong ale. Seems to be a traditional Belgian style tripel ale but with a distinct banana and cinnamon taste coming through. This is the kind of stuff you drink 4 of and get nice and sloppy.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dogfish Head 90-minute Imperial IPA

type: Imperial IPA
origin: Delaware, USA
price: $10/4-pack

After visiting upstate NY, I took the chance to see my buddy Danny in Falmouth, MA. In fine Massachusetts tradition, we stopped by a package store; I was like a kid in a candy shop looking at all the different beers to be drank-up. Danny said he was going to convince me this is the best IPA around. I might have to agree.

Usually describing an ale as "imperial" scares the living hell out of me - bitterness out the roof, barely drinkable. Not this beer. It has complex flavors, is biting but not too hoppy, and has a really fine finish. Danny says the finish is because of the yeast, but what the hell do I know? I might have to take a trip to DE to let this Dogfish give me Imperial Head in the future. Time to update the skit, Wayne and Garth.

Sam Adams Summer Ale (2)

type: ale
origin: Boston, MA, USA
price: $4/pint

Brendan reviewed this beer already, but I think he gives it too much credit. Here's my take:

Are you serious with this garbage, Sam? If I wanted to spend my summer drinking what tastes like sparkling floor cleaner I would go find some keggers, get shitface, and spent the night beside the toilet. What an utterly disappointing beer; frankly, I might even classify this as disgusting. Now every time I see a Sam Adams commercial, where the brewmaster is inspecting the delicate color of his craft, I'm going to think of those pro- high fructose corn syrup commercials and laugh. Even so, I'll give this beer a shot at redemption later on, since it could be that Obrycki's doesn't know how to clean their taps, but I would bet my life savings on this just being that bad.

Obrycki's Amber Lager

type: amber lager
origin: Baltimore, MD, USA
price: $4/pint

Obrycki's is a crab restaurant in Baltimore that somehow migrated to the BWI airport. This "amber" lager was their own, and according to the menu: "brewed local". As you can see (through the glass) it's not so dark, or amber. It's nothing special either, tasting like a more intense (in sharpness and bitterness) version of Bud Heavy. The fried oyster po' boy sandwich was pretty tasty though; it would be nice if they had a good beer to compliment it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Currant, San Diego, CA

140 West Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 702-6309
Website

Built like a French Brasserie, Currant took the best parts of a French Restaurant and mixed it with the awesomeness of an American trendy joint. The happy hour is from 4-7 everyday, which includes $5 dollar wines and mixed drinks and $3 beers. The happy hour food menu is fantastic, with most things being under $5. We had some tempura green beans with wasabi mustard, a croque monsieur, and some calamari provencial, which was quite spicy and amazing. They have a $5 burger which looks macalicious and a wide array of boozes. The interior is trendy urban lounge with velour upholstery. The beer selection kinda sucks (Kona Lager, Bud and Becks Light...who comes up with this shit), but the passionfruit caipirinha is to die for (not as gay as it sounds). They also have absinthe served traditionally (a little pricey, but well worth it).

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lagunitas Brown Shugga


Type: Ale
Origin: Petaluma, CA
Price: ?
Website

Secret Ingredient -> Brown Sugar
# of Balls Rocked -> 2

Whats not to love about this beer. Its a full bodied ale that is steeped in brown sugar to make it extra drinkable, given the fact its almost 10% ABV. You can even taste the grittiness of the sugar as you are drinking it. This semi-pretentious hippie says it best with the brewery's "virtual taste".

Mendocino Imperial IPA


Type: IPA
Origin: Hopland, CA (Seriously, WTF)
Price: ?
Website

For coming in the World Market Winter Brew Pack, this was kinda the odd ball out. There was nothing wintery about the bottle and I seriously had to try and find some winterness just to comment on it. The Imperial IPA has a seriously complex hop profile that only a truly experienced beer drinker can start to analyze. On the website, they say it has "massive amounts of premium varieties of hops such as Amarillo, Cascade, Simcoe and Crystal". Well pardon my french, but I'll be damned. The smell is very citrusy and floral and the only way to describe the taste is as a mix between Sierra Nevada and a stereotypical IPA. I did find some nutmeg in there, so winter it up.

Full Sail Wassail Winter Ale


Type: Ale
Origin: Hood River, OR
Price: ?
Website

I have been thoroughly enjoying Christmas in July this past week and have a 6 beer backlog to report on. The Wassail was the second winter brew I popped open and was quite surprised by it. It has a blackish/brown color with no head. The aroma is very sweet and light. The taste is perfectly bitter with a malted nuttiness. It has severe drinkability for a 7% beer, and I had a craving for some crispy, golden roasted duck while drinking it.

Magic Hat 9

type: pale ale
origin: Vermont, USA
price: $8/6-pack

"Not quite pale ale" reads the bottle. Agreed, but not for the worse. As the picture shows, this pale ale actually is pale. The taste is definitely American pale ale style - slightly hoppy and dry - but the apricot flavors are intriguing. This is a top notch pale ale, but I think drinking more than 3 or 4 could get a little oppressive. I guess Birkenstocks, hemp, and freezing temperatures really inspired those South Burlington hippies; I'm glad it did. As I recall when I was there a few years ago, the brewery was reaching a pretty large scale, yet they still had a mary jane infused brew to taste. I hope they distribute to the West coast soon cuz daddy needs his fix.

Monday, July 12, 2010

EBC Black Jack

type: oatmeal stout
origin: New York
price $5/pint

Second beer at EBC, and what a beauty. Starts with a great pour from a nitrogen tap, leaving a silky smooth, creamy head. The rest of the tastes are smokey, but slightly sweet and chocolatey. This makes me proud to be 'Merican, especially after enjoying a juicy, pepper-crusted, bleu cheese burger.

EBC Two Brothers

type: pale ale
origin: New York
price: $5/pint

My first beer at EBC. I like to think of the pale ale as a great calibration beer: it provides a sense of the style and quality of the brewery. For instance, note how different Sierra Nevada's pale is from Stone's, and even more-so from Bass. Get the point? EBC's pale tasted to me like a slightly less hoppy Sierra Nevada. A quality tasting pale ale for sure. I might be wrong, but the pint seemed to fall flat after just a few minutes into it; I still managed to enjoy every drop though.

Ellicottville Brewing Company (EBC)

28 Monroe St
Ellicottville, NY 14731
716-699-2537

Ellicottville is a bustling town, during ski season. Otherwise it's a nice, quaint town with soft lounge music playing in the streets. I had high hopes on the way, since there's not much microbrew selection around up here. In retrospect, I would go back just for the food. The beer was pretty damn good too. Finally, a respectable beer joint! The seating inside is pleasant, with the mash tun and fermentation tanks in plain view, and the colorful chalkboard beer menus.

Surprisingly, their seasonal selection included quite a few cuvée beers, none of which I tried though. I did have their pale, and stout, which I've reviewed on this site. In summary: go here, eat, and get drunk on some tasty brews.



Anchorbar

1047 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14209-2305
(716) 884-4083
anchorbar.com

A Buffalo staple, mainly as the supposed (self proclaimed?) origin of Buffalo chicken wings. My girl and I parked it here for hours, watching the Dutch get blasted by the Spaniards in an epic FIFA battle, all the while chowing on some delicious wings. As I mentioned in the Frizzy's post, Buffalo is not a good beer town. The most local of all their beers was by Genesee Brewing Company, in Rochester (pronounced "Genny" to a local) - the Genny Cream Ale. The Cream essentially tastes like Bud Heavy, but I think they consider it the "cream of the crop", since I had a Genny light the previous day that tasted like spoiled PBR. If not for the wings and history of the place, I wouldn't come back. Hot damn their sauce is "da bomb" though!!!!

Frizzy's


140 Allen Street
Buffalo, NY 14201-1512
(716) 883-5077

In downtown Buffalo, NY, you cant help but want to eat a big bowl of Cheerios or Lucky Charms; the air is apparently owned by General Mills. It's a shame, then, that even with competent grainsmen there's few quality beer craftsmen, or that there's no place to demonstrate their trade.

Frizzy's is no exception, although I was able to get a Magic Hat "9," but that's from a Vermont Brewery. I'll return to "9" soon. The bar is the kind of place that as your walking to you feel like you might be a victim of gang violence, or beat up by a fratboy who's 12 Labatt Blue Light Limes deep. Having said that: you can definitely get blasted with all your friends Buffalo-style at this joint. Since last call nears 4am, this place ebbs-and-flows like a mutha-fucka: shoulder-to-shoulder one hour - dead empty the next. The beer selection was standard, and cheap, but it's also a short jaunt to the local chicken finger sub shop. A good CD jukebox too.

So how about "9"? Just minutes from Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont is the Magic Hat brewery. It wouldn't surprise me in hindsight to find out the brewery is owned and operated by hippie potheads who love to get enlightened in the woods, since one of the beers was most definitely brewed with Swedish Cheeba. It was certainly home to some tasty beer though, and Number 9 is their flagship. An excellent pale ale with apricot finish that makes you want to deal with below freezing temps, and douche-bags in polo shirts.

Yueungling Traditional Lager

type: lager
origin: Pennsylvania
price: ???

1829 - the birth year of America's oldest brewery. July 2010 - my first trip to upstate New York, and my first taste of the trip. I'm ready for a beer at 1 am, after 10 hours of travelling, and my expectations are high. It's humid and 80 degrees. The color of the pour is impressive, but instantly you notice the extreme carbonation. The taste is as you expect: non-beerish. It tastes like someone poured a Michelob into a glass of soda water. I could probably drink 10 more, but I'd rather get some shut-eye.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sam Adams Cherry Wheat


Type: wheat beer, flavored beer
Price: ?
Origin: Boston, MA
Website

This beer is exactly how it is described. It is a golden brown color with a nice lustrous head. The smell is like wild cherry throat lozenges. The taste is very dry, with the hint of wild cherry only showing up in the side of the mouth. Very similar to a champagne, which I probably would have rather had.

Cooper's Vintage Ale


Type: Ale
Price: ?
Origin: Australia
Website

I was at my Uncle's house this weekend and he had a whole winter brew pack for me that someone left at a party (also a nice arsenal of smirnoff ice). So I basically got 10 unique beers for free. I decided to try the Cooper's Vintage Ale first since it was the only one without any gimmicks such as spicing and flavoring. On the website they suggest aging this in the cellar, and I could see how this gets better with aging. There is quite a bit of sediment in the beer, and it is in rather large chunks with is very unsettling. The color is almost like milk chocolate, and there is a bit of chocolate flavor in it. The flavor and smell is incredibly light, and this is something that could possibly change with age. I was a little weirded out by the sediment, and would probably not have this again.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Belgium 1554 Black Ale


Type: Dark Ale
Origin: Fort Collins, CO
Price: $2.99 per 22 oz
Website

I think I was in over my head drinking a 22 of this after an Affligem Tripel. I can surely tell this is a fantastic brew, but it was a hassle to get it down after 750 mL of enchanting Belgium awesomeness. The color on this is as dark as coffee, and the head is incredibly smooth, almost like a nitrogen tap. The only smell that comes through is coffee, and the taste is light coffee with a hint of dark chocolate. It is quite an enjoyable brew for the price, but make sure you start your night with it.

Affligem Tripel


Type: Belgian
Origin: Belgium
Price: $6.99 per 750 mL
Website

Holy hell. Affligem on sale for 6.99 a wine bottle at Whole Foods. Whole Fuckin Foods! The Dubbel and Tripel were both the same price, so I decided to get the Tripel since it has 1.5% more alcohol pu' volume. At 9.5%, you shouldn't fuck around with this brew. Of course, I had to drink to drink the whole bottle, then a New Belgium 1554 afterward, because thats what Wednesdays are for while watchin It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The color on this is pure golden, almost exactly like a good pilsner. The smell is pure wheat beer, with a hint of citrus. The taste is, well extraordinary. It's incredibly light, but still has a sweet citrus hint that makes this incredibly drinkable. I will definitely have to have plenty of this on my trip to Belgium in October, as well as buy the Dubbel.

Czechvar Lager

type: Czech style lager
origin: seriously, you need a hint?
price: $9/ 6-pack

This is definitely a classic eastern European lager. Really smooth tasting, but slightly malty. It does actually have some interesting flavors, though I didn't write down what I thought they were. Given that I just had the Stone Self-Righteous I'm surprised that I (a) enjoyed this, and (b) decided there were interesting flavors. Who knows I guess. And yes, that is original Super Mario Bros on the screen in the background.

Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale

type: dark ale
origin: San Diego, Ca
price: $6/22 oz

This is better than a joint rolled by Jesus, moistened shut by Claudia Schiffer's ... I guess you'll just have to listen to Bill Hicks for the punchline. This beer is so damn good I can't even review it without my head flying off in excitement. In fact, the aromas are so complex my brain cant even decide what to think; the flavors are so rich and complex it's truly worth the $$, even at an expensive liquor store. I'm not snobbish enough to be able to review this beer accurately. All I know is this was Stone's 11th anniversary ale (in 2007), which made the cut; now it's in production mode. Thank goodness for that. The beer world would be a sad place without this delicious treat.

Ayinger Bavarian Lager

type: lager
origin: Germany
price: $2.60/330 ml

A Bavarian lager, brewed under the purity law of 1516. Apple aromas waft up as you smell; it's sweet yet bitter tasting. Certainly refreshing, but not in the way you'd want to drink 9 and be refreshed to the third power. Cut the price in half and I'm all about it.

Baltika #9 Extra Lager


Type: Lager
Origin: St. Petersburg, Russia
Price: $1.79 per 0.5 L
Website

This beer was a huge mistake. I was drawn to it by the cheap price, the Russianness, and the high alcohol content (8.0%). This is simply a good lager that they added vodka to. The Russian equivalent of Colt 45. If you can get past the astringent qualities of it, the lager part of it is not to shabby, and I can see the appeal of this. You probably don't want to pull this out until they ship your ass of to the gulags. It did give me a super hangover and all I had was this and the Hacker-Pschorr Weisse. Epic fail

Hacker-Pschorr Weisse


Type: Wheat beer
Origin: Munich, Germany
Price: $2.19 per 0.5 L
Website

What a classic this one is. This wheat beer truly embodies everything fantastic about wheat beers and throws away all the shit. The color is a wonderful orange brown like when you mix tequila and orange juice. The head is thick, the smell is a good strong wheat/citrus, and the taste is a nice sweet/citrus bite. Its a bit drier than most wheat beers, but I think thats because other wheat beers fucked up the Hacker-Pschorr recipe.

Samuel Smith's Organically Produced Lager


Type: Lager, Pale lager
Origin: England
Price: $2.99 per 22 oz
Website

I drank this beer a few days ago, and my top note was " absolutely fucking brilliant". It is incredibly light with a wonderful hop profile. The color is a light golden and it has a soft settling head. There is a slightly sweet smell to it, but the flavor profile is not overpowering in the sweetness. This is the third Samuel Smith's we have reviewed, and everything thus far has been recommended.

Karlovacko Svijetlo Pivo


Type: Pilsner
Origin: Karlovac, Croatia
Price: $2.29 per 0.5 L
Website

This has to be the first beer I have had from the Balkans, and I have to say, I am quite impressed. It is definitely not the best pilsner, probably not in the top 10, but for the price and the place, you have to give it to the Croatians. The color is stereotypical pilsner, with a nice frothy head. There is a slight skunky smell, which seems to be a trend of pilsners on this site, but the taste is pure sweetness. If they want to make this a world class beer, they should tone down the sweetness a bit. I would definitely like to try this in Croatia, and will give them the benefit of the doubt on it. Otherwise, it is a classic pilsner that is not trying to be pretentious.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fischer Biere D'Alsace Amber Traditional

type: lager
origin: France
price: $5/22oz
website

Given how hard France lost to Mexico in the FIFA World Cup, I had to give them an attempt at beer-redemption. First off, what a kick ass bottle. It feels like a collector's item, with the wire sealed pop-top. The taste reminds me, honestly, of drinking a traditional Snakebite: 50/50 lager and cider. As refreshing and crisp as a Snakebite is, so too is this beer. Redemption granted. I would buy this again if it meant I could also watch the French play horrendous soccer in front of the entire world. And yes, it's called soccer.

Fuller's 1845 Bottle-Conditioned

type: ale, bottle conditioned
origin: England
price: $4.30/16.9oz

James Moore, a Brit, puts full recommendation behind all Fuller's beers. Who is Moore? Nobody to you I'd bet. To Brats and me he's brash, faux-manly, and a wanna-be Crocodile Dundee. There are some interesting flavors in this beer, but as Moore is to us, so is the taste of this beer to me: malty and bitter, slightly sour. Not fun company. I see the "bottle conditioned" tag as an increasingly obvious failed attempt at credibility. Really, can't we just make beer like a modern brewmaster would, please?

Alesmith Anvil ESB

type: ale (ESB)
origin: San Diego, Ca
price: $4/22oz
website

ESB means Extra Special (or Strong) Bitter. In this case it's not accurate. Yes, this beer does have a level of bitterness to it, but certainly not overwhelming. It's wonderfully nutty, highly drinkable, and smooth. It has a beautiful color too. Alesmith never disappoints me, and makes me "proud to be an Americaaaan, where at least I know I'm free." As Team America points out though "freedom isn't free, it costs a hefty fuuuuckin' fee." Hence, the $4. On a final note, I can't think of something funny to say with ESB, sorry. I will entertain suggestions though.