Thursday, September 30, 2010

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale

Type: Pumpkin Ale
Origin: Portland, Maine
Price: $6 pint at Regal Beagal

At 9% ABV I was skeptical and yet really excited to try this beer. It was the start of the Fall season yet it was hot as hell out. Did I really want a pumpkin ale or was I to resort to good ole' Budweiser? Well let me tell ya, I made the right decision. The nose is delicate and hints at the nutmeg to come. There is practically no head on the draft and the color screams of dying Autumn leaves in the middle of nowhere Maine. Crisp and refreshing, the journey begins similar to a hefty blond ale with a nice bubbly bite. Shortly after swallowing, the flavor profile shifts to your typical American pumpkin pie with a metallic tinge thrown in the mix. This was unbearable at first but after a few seconds the finish hits. Oh and what a finish it is. A beautiful and delicate blend of nutmeg, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice. It is only slightly bitter, practically unnoticeable by San Diego standards. The stated alcohol content makes me wonder, and this wonder is further compounded by the website, which says it is only 5.1% ABV. Hmmmmmm I wonder..... All in all, a must have for the coming months. I would sleep with this beer if it was possible.

Left Coast McGarvey's Scottish Ale

Type: scottish ale
Origin: San Clemente, California
Price: $4.69 per 22 oz

This is a very atypical beer for Left Coast, but I still think they did a fantastic job. Everything about this is clean and fresh, which is definitely not the norm for scottish ales in America since most are well past their prime. The color is a reddish chocolate with a ferocious head. This was definitely a napkin beer as you can tell from the pic. The smell is very faint hops, but really not much else happening on that front. The taste has a very strong coffee component with a bit of nuttiness, very reminiscent of a nice oatmeal stout.

A side note, Left Coast is such an awesome brewery that they actually noted that they fucked up on this beer. Right on the back they say:

"Who would have thought that a mistake would have created a gold medal beer? What was supposed to be our Sunset Amber turned out to be this..."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tied House Cascade Amber Ale

Type: amber ale
Origin: San Jose, California
Price: $2.79 per 22 oz

Man was I stunned when I smelled this beer. Amber ales are usually close to brown ales in terms of nuttiness and maltiness. When I smelled the cascade, pure pale ale. The smell is very light and floral with a hint of bitterness. Definitely not what I was expecting. I was expecting the taste to match, but nope, it went back to typical amber ale. It is more refreshing than a brown ale with a hint of the bitterness popping through the malts that are typically associated with amber ales. I would definitely drink this again, especially for the price.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Anderson Valley Brother David's Triple

Type: Belgian tripel
Origin: Boonville, California
Price: $6.69 per 22 oz

I was at BevMo! and was not in the mood to pay too much for beers. All they had this week were a few cheap beers, then everything else in the $7 plus range. I wanted a belgian style beer, so I was pretty much stuck with the Brother David's Triple. This is a rather interesting beer, but I don't think it is worth the price, even for a belgian. There is a complete lack of head, which is one of the most enjoyable parts of a belgian tripel. The smell is light and wheaty, and the taste is sweet with a fair amount of bitterness. The flavors of an average tripel are definitely there, but it seems watered down a bit. It is 10% ABV, which is a nice plus, and you can definitely tell its there from an overall tingling in the mouth. This is not a bad beer, just not the best belgian out there.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Marin Hefe Doppelweisen

Type: hefeweisen, doppelbock
Origin: Larkspur, California
Price: $4.29 per 22 oz

Marin brewring definitely did a great job combining two great beer types and giving it a California kick. This beer has the great qualities of a traditional hefeweisen (citrusy, wheaty, sweet) with those of a doppelweisen (more wheaty, stronger, significant mouth feel). The hefeweisen part lulls you into drinking more while the doppelweisen punches you in the mouth with the 7%, an unheard of amount for a hefe. It's the same a drinking an 8% natty. Absolutely refreshing.

Duchesse de Bourgogne

Type: flemish red ale
Origin: Vichte, Belgium
Price: Free for me, $7 per 12 oz for everyone else

I went to a pretty popular wine bar with the lady and some others, and since I am not a huge wine fan, opted for the beers. They actually had quite the selection and at reasonable prices. I was able to get a Stone Pale (not interesting, especially in San Diego), a North Coast Pranqster (becoming much more popular down here I can only assume because of my wonderful review) and then this baby. I had no idea what it was, all I knew it was from Belgium. The bartender said this was amazing and put it on the tab (sidenote: at wine bars, definitely order beer. They think it is worthless especially compared to $50 bottles of crappy bordeaux, and then they forget to put it on the tab). Since I wasn't expecting to do a beer review that day, I didn't bring my notepad, so I only put a few notes on my phone. Here is the review verbatim:

Smells sour sweet
tastes like sour candy
tastes like condiments

I am sorry I cannot do this beer justice. It was an interesting beer, but I couldn't drink more than one. Here is the description off of the distributors website:

from Brouwerij Verhaeghe is the traditional Flemish red ale. This refreshing ale is matured in oak casks; smooth with a rich texture and interplay of passion fruit, and chocolate, and a long, dry and acidic finish. After the first and secondary fermentation, the beer goes for maturation into the oak barrels for 18 months. The final product is a blend of younger 8 months old beer with 18 months old beer. The average age of the Duchesse de Bourgogne before being bottled is 12 months.

So yeah, it tastes like condiments!

Airdale Altitude Pale Ale

Type: Pale ale
Origin: San Diego, California
Price: $4 per pint

For being a San Diego beer, the words pale ale can be a bit intimidating considering most other cities IPA's are San Diego's pales. Airdale got this beer perfect. It is definitely a different take on pale ale, but I could definitely drink many of these. From the picture, you can see this beer has a yellowing orange opaqueness common to hefeweisen. The smell is very light and floral and the taste becomes very floral with some pretty significant citrus notes plowing through. The easiest way to describe this is a subdued Sierra with a light lemon splash. I could drink that anyday Airdale.

Unibroue Chambly Noire

Type: dark ale
Origin: Chambly, Canada
Price: $7.99 per variety 4pk

Hot damn, the canadians came up with a fancy bum wine. Chambly Noire reminds me greatly of a strong malt liquor like King Cobra or OE, but then Unibroue one upped it and probably aged this beer in Whiskey barrels. The smells and tastes are very wheaty with many smoky qualities from strong bitter things like chocolate, coffee and spices. Truly an interesting beer that I need to try again.

Paulaner Salvator Doppelbock

Type: doppelbock
Origin: Munich, Germany
Price: $2.39 per 16 oz

In the under $3 category, this must be the most interesting beer I have ever consumed. It has a wonderful reddish/orange color that warns the less experienced beer drinkers to 'get the fuck out the way. There is a strong smoked cheese smell and an absolutely powerful currant taste in addition to the good hop balance and maltiness. The only reason I know what currants taste like is because I drank some currant juice hung over on a train the wrong way out of Vienna, trying to get to the Military Museum. It was totally worth it. They had a courtyard of Panzer tanks. Photo proof:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chimay Tripel

Type: belgian trappist tripel ale
Origin: Chimay, Belgium
Price: $9.99 per 750 mL

I have a confession. I had to look at the website for inspiration on this beer. Everything about it is perfectly balanced that heathens like me cannot pick out individual notes without some guidance. Chimay says "the fruity notes of muscat and raisins give this beer a particularly attractive aroma" and "there is no acidity, but an after-bitterness which melts in the mouth". I agree with the muscat and lack of acidity, but not the other two. This is a bottle conditioned beer that is top fermented. I have no idea if I have ever had a top fermented beer, but if it means the beer will be fucking delicious, then I'm all for it. I also did not know only seven breweries can officially use the "Trappistes" label (Orval, Chimay, Westvleteren, Rochefort, Westmalle, Achel and Koningshoeven). I know I have seen others that use that label, but it must be like Champagne vs. Sparkling Wine. This is probably the most subdued Tripel I have ever consumed, but I think I have only had 4 or 5 now.

Sierra Nevada Tumbler Autumn Brown

Type: brown ale
Origin: Chico, California
Price: $3.99 per 24 oz

Most brown ales are simply boring. The Tumbler on the other hand is wonderfully malty with amazing hop balance that you expect from Sierra. I feel like I am drinking a subdued version of the pale ale with a hint of nuttiness. I honestly cannot think of anything to say other than this is really damn good. So much better than Newcastle.

Super Bock

Type: pilsner, lager
Origin: Le├ža do Balio, Portugal
Price: $6.50 per 6 pack

On wikipedia, writer Tom Lloyd notes of Super Bock: "This is a truly heroic beer, that does justice to a truly heroic nation". I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. I grew rather fond of this on a 3 day trip to Lisbon last year. I must have had 4 or 5 liters of this stuff in Barrio Alto at all hours of the night. Its the perfect drinking in a back alley beer, which is essentially what drinking in Lisbon is like. In the end, this is an above par pilsner lager that aims to get the job done.

New Domain

Hey Everyone! We took the DeLorean back to 1994 and signed up for one of them new fangled "Domain Names". If you enter the old address, you will be automatically redirected. If you want to be cool, you can update your links to "".

The Management

Monday, September 20, 2010

Saint Sylvestre 3 Monts Golden Ale

Type: belgian golden ale
Origin: Cappel, France
Price: $8.99 per 750 mL

I went to a wine shop and picked this up there because I have never seen it before. The price seemed right for an 8.5% 750 mL beer. The beer selection was pretty shitty though. I got this and a chimay, but they maybe had 5 other beers. The cork on this bottle is retarded. It was a champagne cork that they pressure sealed on with a piece of rebar. I almost seriously injured myself opening it, always a good sign. When I popped the cork, blam, champagne smell. When I poured it, it looked like champagne with the small light bubbles. The smell is very dry citrus like a semi-sweet white wine. The taste is sweet, crisp and citrusy. The taste is almost a mix between a traditional golden ale and a hard cider. It definitely has a nice alcoholy mouth feel that you only get from good-to-excellent belgian dubbels and beyond. I don't know if I would buy this again, but I would definitely drink it again locally for a few less bucks.

Green Flash West Coast IPA

Type: IPA
Origin: Vista, California
Price: $4 per pint

As soon as I smelled this beer, I knew it was from San Diego. The woman quickly confirmed the observation on the smarty phone. Oh technology. My written review has way too many swears, mainly pertaining to the hops in this beer. Some classics are:

"Holy shit, thats floral"
"So fucking hoppy, must be from San Diego"
"takes like I'm drinking a god-dammed pine tree"

I don't think anything else needs to be said. I noted there is a bit of sweetness on the nose, but you probably can't taste it as the pine sol removes all moisture and taste buds from your mouth. This may sound like a bad review, but I did like this surprisingly. It just had one very distinguishing feature.

Mad River Mad Belgian

Type: Belgian
Origin: Blue Lake, California
Price: $4 per 10 oz

I had this a few weeks ago at Wit's End and it was definitely an interesting beer. I wrote down that this has a "choppy head", which I have no idea what it means, but if you have it, maybe you will understand. The smell is very wheaty and the taste is strongly wheaty with a light bitterness. It has a nice orange opaqueness that is a pleasure to look at through the Delerium glass. Towards the end, it takes on a pepper flavor, adding a bit to the acid reflux of Wit's End.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Petrus Gouden Tripel Ale

Type: belgian tripel ale
Origin: Bavikhove, Belgium
Price: $7.99 per 750 mL

This is another one of those bottle gimmick beers. They put some ridiculous image on the front, give it some quirky name, misspell some words, and expect you to buy. It's a fairly good strategy, and worked pretty well on me. This beer has everything you expect in a belgian tripel. It has a soft golden (Gouden?) color with a frothy head. It has a very strong wheat and sour citrus smell. The flavors are very sour, much more so than other tripels. It has a very significant mouth feel and is all around enjoyable, especially for the price.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Deschutes Black Butte

type: porter
origin: bend, Oregon, USA
price: ~ $15/12-pack

This beer taught me a valuable lesson: be not afraid of the porter. The roasted malts are on full display here; they're mellow yet flavorful, and beautifully complimentary. This is one classy beer. So let's recap Deschutes:

Mirror Pond: great
Black Butte: great

Brendan, it's time for a trip to Bend.

Deschutes Mirror Pond

type: pale ale
origin: Bend, Oregon, USA
price: ~ $15/12-pack

I'll say it again: pale ale is a calibration beer. Drinking a brewery's pale instantly gives you insight into their thought process. Deschutes is doing good things. Hop in the Dark was excellent, and I'll get to their porter next. This is a great pale ale, simply put. It's got some dry hoppiness, but not too much - it's well balanced but you get a little fruitiness in the finish. I still think Stone Pale is the best, but this could easily be runner up.

Delirium Nocturnum

type: Belgian ale
origin: Melle, Belgium
price: $12/750 ml

If you went to their website before trying this, or Tremens, you'd think these guys were the biggest retards on the planet. You remember the early nineties, when the big deal in website design was lame patterned backgrounds and animated gifs? Yeah, apparently Huyghe Brewery still has a 56k modem.

It also turns out this brewery makes the finest beers around. Why try anything else I usually think to myself? These fools are the Dorrough of beer: clean on the inside, cream on the outside.

I should say, this brew is often overshadowed by Tremens, but this is absolutely top notch stuff. It's simply a classic, perfect Belgian ale. I love their little pink elephant, too.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Buckbean Brewing Original Orange Blossom Ale

Type: ale, flavored beer
Origin: Reno, Nevada
Price: $8.99 for 4 pk of 16 oz

The name of this beer describes it perfectly. It is in an orange can. It is orange in color. It smells like oranges and tastes like oranges. It has a hint of sourness and a bitterness that would come from the orange peel. It is very intriguing and interesting, and I think I like it. You definitely need to be in the mood for it, but if you aren't a beer person, this is probably a good foray into beer.

Vielle Provision Saison Dupont

Type: Belgian farmhouse ale
Origin: Tourpes, Belgium
Price: $7.99 per 750 mL

This beer is absolutely everything you look for in a beer. It has a nice dark unfiltered orange color that refracts light perfectly. The head soft and fluffy, making it even enjoyable to drink. The smell is citrusy and wheaty, almost teasing you to drink it for breakfast. The taste is extraordinary. Its light enough to drink significant amounts of it, but its heavy enough to make you feel special. The flavors are sweet and citrusy, and it also has a nice alcohol quality which is surprising at only 6.5%. The low alcohol is probably the only negative, but I think if they made it stronger, many of the flavors would be lost. Truly amazing.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Abita Andygator

Type: Helles Doppelbock
Origin: Abita Springs, LA
Price: $4.49 per 22 oz

I am really surprised Andy hasn't reviewed this beer yet. With Andy mixed with gators, you would expect a high powered brew. The only thing high powered about this is the alcohol (8%) and the calories (235 per 12 oz serving...jesus fucking christ). The flavors are light and generally delicious, but I don't think it is worth that atrocious calorie count. Abita should definitely take the nutritional facts down from their site. Check out this site to see how ridiculous this total is. Guiness only has 125 calories. Now that I thoroughly sound like and anorexic at fat camp, I guess I should legitimately review the beer. It has a very glassy orange color with a soft head. It smells very faintly of wheat. The taste is fairly sweet with a general "beer" taste. I think the only reason this sells is because of the name and the bottle.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rubicon IPA

Type: IPA
Origin: Sacramento, CA
Price: $3.69 per 22 oz

This beer is a gold medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival and I definitely understand why. It reminds me of a perfectly crafted Czech pilsner, not taste wise, just emotionally. The hops are perfectly balanced and have a bit of a kick that is required for a fine IPA. The color and head are magnificent, the aromas are very sweet and floral, and the taste is very complex without being too pretentious. A great buy for the price.

Eel River Acai Berry Wheat

Type: Flavored beer, wheat beer
Origin: Scotia, California
Price: $3.99 per 22 oz.

The word organic scares the shit out of me. Most products are simply better with genetic engineering and pesticides. In the case of the Eel River Acai Berry Wheat, organic doesn't mean better or worse. The acai berry has a very strange taste, giving the beer a dirty aftertaste. I know this flavor is not coming from the base of wheat beer, so I give Eel River the benefit of the doubt. The beer is fresh and fairly delicious, even with the negatives of the acai berry. This is very similar to a Sam Adams Cherry Wheat. I will have to try a non gimmick beer from Eel River to truly tell if they are a good organic brewery.

Side Note: When pouring the rest of the beer into my glass, I noticed an epic fail: 4.0% Alcohol by Vol. I guess I have to drink another beer tonight.

Shakespeare's Pub, San Diego

All of us went out to Shakespeare's on India Street in San Diego last Thursday night. It was all night happy hour there, and the grub is rather fine. Me lady and I split the curry with fake meat. Mighty good indeed. Reviewing the pub is not the main purpose of this post. The point is to show that Andy and I have not turned into beer snobs yet during our journey of fantastic drunkenness. Yes, we are drinking 16 oz aluminum bottle bud heavys at an English Pub in the picture below. They were like $2.75, and this is a recession, how can I go wrong.

Wittekerke White

Type: white ale, wheat beer
Origin: Belgium
Price: $5 per pint

The gang all went to Flugtag in Long Beach a few weeks ago, and while sitting out in the sun with all the classy LBC natives, we decided to go to the Yard House, and watch the start of the Flug-tagging from there. When our order was being taken, I selected the Wittekerke, to which the waiter replied, "That is our best wheat beer". Brent then decided to be a poser and get that as well. After 15 minutes, the brews arrives for everyone else, but apparently the Wittekerke keg was tapped, and it would be another 10 minutes. I decided to be patient for once, and was pleasantly surprised by this behemoth:

A nice free upgrade to the half yard. Let me just say that the half yard is probably the stupidest glass to ever serve this beer in. The head formation was voracious for the entirety of the drink and the bubble at the bottom just ruins it. Yes the bubble exists in glasses not in boot form:

There is really nothing to intriguing about this beer, but it is pretty damn good. The sweet wheatyness is perfectly offset by a slight bitterness. It is incredibly light and easy to drink.

Enjoying our victory:

Ringwood Old Thumper Extra Special Ale

Type: ale
Origin: Ringwood, UK
Price: $2.99 per 22 oz

Badass marketing plus 2.99 for a 22 = Ringwood ESA. What the hell is an ESA? ESB definitely exists, but ESA? Those brits and their fucking adjectives. This beer definitely tastes like an ESB, with a hint of winter special ale-ness. The flavors are very nutty, but the smell is very citrusy and sweet. There is an all around bitterness that is similar to having a strong IPA. I was able to figure out where the bitterness comes from: walnut shells. I would definitely take a journey back to the Thumps-mc-gumps again for the price.

Mendocino White Hawk IPA

Type: IPA
Origin: Ukiah, CA
Price: $6.99 per 6 pack

Reasonable. This is the perfect word to describe this beer. Sufficient would also do this brew justice. It has a nice average orange brown color, with a hint of opaqueness, a bit unique for an IPA. The head is nice, fluffy and "cloud" like. God I can be so gay in my reviews. The hops are light and floral, with a hint of citrus in them. Nothing is overpowering about this. The price is reasonable, the ABV is 7%, a decently high count for an IPA, but not obscene, and has a bitterness of 60 IBU, not garish or outlandish by San Diego standards. Even my picture of this is sufficient. Alright, it's pretty shitty, but I really don't care what you think.

Allagash Curieux

type: ale
origin: Portland, Maine, USA
price: $16/750 ml

Jesus, I can't take a picture worth dick. This is the best one I have after seriously changing every damn setting on my shitty camera. OK then, the review:

Damn, this is some expensive-ass beer, but hot damn the flavors are so unique it's hard to knock. Aged in Jim Beam oak bourbon barrels. My bottle was the June 10th bottled edition - only 825 cases. This would be absolutely the most perfect beer for a freezing-cold winter night. The (strong) bourbon flavors come through, giving you the bum-wine warming feeling. The 11% abv makes the tasting completely change from start to finish; for me it was "not sure I like it" to "this is delicious, my goodness." The flavors here are strikingly complex, but balanced and complimentary. I have a feeling this would pair with a nice lamb-shank or some Simpsons BBBQ.

A note about Allagash Brewing Company: 100% wind powered. Consequently, I must say something to New Belgium: you no longer get points for wind-power and shitty beer.

I thought the top of the beer was interesting too.