Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ballast Point Victory at Sea

type: Imperial porter
origin: San Diego, CA, USA
price: $8.30/22 oz

Matt, Sambo and I had just got back from chugging beers in the theater, watching True Grit, and we were feeling a bit sluggish. As we found, Victory works surprisingly well as a pick-me-up. You can taste three things here:

* the 10% abv,
* vanilla bean, and
* coffee bean (from local favorites Caffe Calabria - they have superior espresso beans)

I think the beer is a little too alcoholic, but it works well with the beans. My review reads: "pow pow pow. Fuck yeah."

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

St Peter's Organic English Ale

type: English ale
origin: Suffolk, U.K.
price: $4.50/0.5 l

December 28th, 2010 in San Diego: 75F, gentle wind, and sunny. This beer was the perfect choice for such a moment. When you open the flask-shaped bottle and pour into a glass you get minimal head (almost none), a skunky aroma, and slightly unfiltered golden hues. Fortunately the perceived skunkiness doesn't reach the palate, and you're left drinking a sharp, crisp, citrusy ale. I love the bottle, and I almost washed it out and kept it, but then I realized that was pretty stupid.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Firehouse Hops on Rye IPA

Type: IPA
Origin: Sunnyvale, California
Price: $4.49 per 22 oz

Alright, I'm really confused. There are two Firehouse Brewing Co.s, one in Sunnyvale, and one in San Diego. This one is technically Firehouse Brewery and the one in San Diego is Firehouse Brewing Company. On that note, I think this is the first beer from Firehouse Brewery that I have consumed, although I have no way to confirm that. All I know is this is a damn good beer. There are very strong coriander notes popping in here that I think help suppress the hops down to a palatable level. The color on this is a bit dark for an IPA, probably from the rye malts that they used in it. They say on the bottle that this adds a nice spicy finish, and I definitely get it. Almost like eating a peppercorn. I will have to pay attention to the other Firehouse to see who the true champion of the name is, but this is a strong contender given how I remember other "Firehouse" brews.

Spaten Franziskaner

type: Hefe-Weissbier
origin: Munich, Germany
price: $2.50 / 16 oz

Well I waited a while to review this beer because we all know it's delicious, but I just had to. I love Franziskaner and usually if I see it at a regular bar I will order it. It has great "drinkability" like Bud Light commercials say about their shitty beer. Let's have this dbag explain drinkability for us

Okay anyways, taste wise you get the orange peel citrus slightly sweet wheat taste with this beer, but without the crazy unneccessary bite. No lemon or orange is necessary, I'm serious about this people. Don't put a damn lemon in my Franz. Also another sidenote this beer is great if you are at a bar with some of your friends and they don't like beer. Tell them to try this and I guarantee they will like it. I'm about 5/5 on introduction between Franziskaner and a friend.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Estrella Damm Inedit

Type: lager wheat beer
Origin: Barcelona, Spain
Price: $8.99 per 750 mL

Ferran Adria is one of the greatest chefs in the world. This is the beer he created to be served in his Michelin 3-Star restaurant (only 81 currently exist in the world). That should say everything about this beer. Regular Estrella Damm is very much the Budweiser of Spain. A simple pilsner that aims to quench the thirst of the masses. If I tasted Inedit blindly, I would have thought it was from one of the Belgian abbeys. It has a very light citrus flavor that would pair excellently with seafood, but also is not overly sweet, and could go would meatier fare. The beer actually comes with a pamphlet about how to enjoy the beer. Here is the transcript:

"Inedit means "Never been done before". In cooperation with the brewmasters of Estrella Damm, Inedit was crafted by the globally acclaimed chef Ferran Adria, Juli Soler and sommeliers Ferran Centelles and David Seijas from ElBulli Restaurant.

Inedit was created to pair with the most exquisite and challenging foods. Foods that contain: citrus and oils: ie. salads, vinegar based sauces. Bitter Notes: ie. asparagus, artichokes, rugula. Oily textures: ie. salmon, tuna, fatty cheese.

A skillfully brewed blend of lager and wheat beer styles. Inedit uses a combination of barley malt, wheat, hops, coriander, orange peel, yeast and water.

Uniquely brewed to create a complex aroma and opaque appearance, a floral nose leaves a sensation of fresh yeast and sweet spices. Lightly carbonated with a creamy texture, the soft, full body leaves a long and lasting finish.

It is recommended that Inedit is enjoyed in a white wine glass and kept in an ice bucket after serving."

The way they describe the beer can come off a bit snobbish, but you can't complain with the price. And the beer is simply incredible. They can say whatever they want, as long as they back it up where it counts.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rogue Morimoto Soba Ale

type: soba ale
origin: Newport , Oregon, USA
price: $5/22oz

Rogue REDEMPTION ALERT! I railed pretty hard on Dead Guy a while back; I'm not ashamed of that, but I do think they've redeemed themselves on this one. If this were in every sushi bar in America, Sapporo and Kirin would be out of business. There's an interesting starch-like quality to this with just a hint of citrus. The finish is minimally intrusive, meaning you could enjoy this (a) en masse, or (b) as Sake bombs. Yeah BRO!!!! The only strange thing is the 9 ingredients in this, and about 7 I have no clue what they are. So maybe this is a genetically engineered beer or a super secret samurai drink; either way I'm happy.

Wikipedia challenge of the next 5 minutes: Just what is soba, and who is Chef Morimoto?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lost Abbey Inferno

type: Belgian style ale
origin: San Marcos, CA, USA
price: $7(?)/22(?)

We have a contender for hardest bottle to open. The citrus flavors are a little more subdued than most Belgian style, and it tastes a little more like grain. That doesn't mean it's not delicious. I might venture out and say this is one of Lost Abbey's better brews, that I've tasted.

Deschutes The Abyss

type: American Double/Imperial Stout
origin: Portland, OR, USA
price: $6 / 16 oz

God this beer really made me want to road trip it to Portland. Step aside Alesmith Speedway Stout. This stout is 11% alcohol and gets better with every sip. I have been really liking stouts lately and this was honestly one of the best stouts I have ever had. The beer has a coffee and roasted malt taste with a slight amber touch that really makes it. Definitely a beer you could put away for a few years to age, but it would be tough for me not to open this after buying.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Russian River Damnation

type: Belgian golden ale
origin: Santa Rosa, CA, USA
price: $5 / 375 ml

This bottle was from batch 60, which is apparently a super awesome wonderful batch of delicious beer orgasm. Damn, there's spices and citrus and yeast flavors all up in your face, in a very good way. Top that off with wonderful color and aromas, and that's a beautiful beer. If it weren't so expensive, I'd have it all the time.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rock Bottom Longboard Brown Ale Cask

type: Brown Ale
origin: La Jolla, CA
price: $4/16 oz pint

I have had the Longboard Brown Ale before, but never on a special release cask that was supposed to be dry hopped. The original is not bad and has won some awards, but nothing compared to Moose Drool in my opinion. This special release honestly tasted like garbage, dry hopped with manure. It had an initial caramel taste and a aftertaste of a flat root beer. I am used to the Rock Bottom mediocre beers and selection, but this was really disappointing. At least at happy hour it's only $3 in a mug size (still not worth it).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Brew Dog Punk IPA

type: "post-modern ", IPA
origin: Scotland, UK
price: $4/22.4 oz (google "22.4 oz")

I learned in college that people that like to classify art are stupid fuck-tards that are destined for scenester purgatory. Nearly everything about this is proving me correct: From their stupid "were so awesome and ground breaking"-type label, to the abnormal bottle size (seriously, did you google it?), to the classification of this beer as post-modern.

This is pretty much an overly malty tasting pale ale with minimal hop characteristics. The only real redeeming quality is the price. Yeah, I guess I'll pay $4 (tops). I tell you what Brew Dog, why don't you go pour your post-modern beer up Duchamp's inverted toilet and see how that works out for you.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Goose Island Pere Jacques 2010

type: Belgian-style abbey ale
origin: Chicago, IL, USA
price: $8/22 oz

I didn't know Chi-town could be so classy. This from a city that produced Blago?! The bottle's elegance mirrors the clean, distinct flavors of the beer, an abbey style ale. At 8%, this is much less of an alcohol/syrup tasting beverage (I'm growing tired of this) than it is a delightful, potent beer.

The bottle reads "inspired", and I think that's obvious. It also reads "ages in the bottle" for up to five years; I'm not so sure it needs to. It would be interesting to see what happens after that long, but I'd probably fuck up the storage process somehow, and it would end up tasting like Bigfoot's dick.

It's only my first Goose beer, but I'm impressed already.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Alpine Pure Hoppiness

Type: ale
Origin: Alpine, California
Price: $4.99 per 22 oz. $4 at Tornados

A West Coast IPA that I had the privilege to drink on Cask at Tornados for $4. Needless to say I got there early to try this for the first time on cask. This beer is usually 8% alcohol, but on cask it increased to approximately 9%. The name says it all really, basically super hoppy, but it does have a surprising after taste similar to a lager. The beer has a gold hue, is slightly citrus, and a touch of sweet. It really reminded me of Ballast Points Fathom IPL, which is a great compliment.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Wild

Type: ale
Origin: Petaluma, California
Price: $4.49 per 22 oz

Andy essentially reviewed this beer when he reviewed the brewery, but I figure since he said Petaluma has a yeast infection, the beer deserves its own post. On the bottle, "Doggone Good" says that this is fermented with the Westmalle Yeast Strain (seriously look at the bottle, looks like a Web 2.0 disaster). Regardless, this is a damn good beer. While I have never tasted Westmalle this hopped up before, I would have to say those Monks better start harvesting some more hops. Even those this is quite hoppy, you can pick out the subtle qualities of the beer, which has a nice sweet cherry component to it. It has a very thick feeling to it (like cough syrup), making me instantly feel like I got my moneys worth.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hermitage Wheatopia

Type: double hefeweisen
Origin: San Jose, California
Price: $3.49 per 22 oz

I don't really understand what they mean by "double" hefeweisen. If by double, they mean twice the alcohol, then they hit this on the head at 8%. If you expect double the taste, you will be doubly disappointed. This is not a bad beer by any means, and in fact it is quite delicious. The wheat flavor is very faint and there is almost no citrus. The opacity is pretty strong, and is probably the only thing reminding the drinker that this is a hefeweisen. I think in going for more alcohol, they ate up some of the beneficial sugars that give hefes their distinguishing taste. I think if they split the distance at 6%, this would be a world class beer.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Abita SOS Pilsner

Type: Pilsner
Origin: Abita Springs, Louisiana
Price: $4.49 per 22 oz

Everything I have had from Abita has been fairly good, and this is no exception. It actually might be one of the best pilsners I've had (from this country, of course, since I have actually been to the Czech Republic). This is a special charity beer to raise money for the Louisiana coast, and if every charity served beer this good, I would be a much more charitable man. The color and head on this are exactly what you expect from a quality pils and the smell is rather sweet and not skunked for once (as opposed to all the foreign pilsners we get here). It has a nice mouth feel that seems like I'm drinking a belgian dubbel, but then the flavors are all pilsner. The hops are quite subtle, but they are the perfect surprise after the sweet, slightly citrus flavors that come in strong in the front of the mouth. Abita was also able to make this 7%, which is almost unheard of for pilsners.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Stone Lukcy Basartd

Type: Ale
Origin: Escondido, California
Price: $5.99 per 22 oz

This is a limited edition release from Stone to commemorate the 13th anniversary of Arrogant Bastard. It is created by combining an unclassified amount of Arrogant Bartard, Double Arrogant Bastard and Oaked Arrogant Bastard. I used to not be a fan of Arrogant Bastard, and I finally had it again last weekend at the Brewery and surprisingly enjoyed it. I think my palate is changing a bit since starting this site. This combination of the three is very interesting. There is a good hop balance, but it seems a bit subdued from the three beers on their own. Popping through the hops is a really nice cherry flavor, matching the perfect deep red color. This is definitely a very volatile beer that has a similar warming quality to bourbon. Cheeky Bastards.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Achel Trappist Blonde

Type: belgian trappist blond ale
Origin: Hamont-Achel, Belgium
Price: €1.22 per 12 oz

Achel is the the newest Trappist brewery, having opened in only 1998. They did however get help from Westmalle and Rochefort in opening the new brewery, and it definitely shows. This is probably one of the best blonde ales I've ever had. It has an absolutely perfect color with a perfectly soft head. It smells fairly sweet with some nice wheat notes. All of the flavors are perfectly balanced, with a nice wheaty sweetness. It is not bitter at all like the Westmalle Tripel, but it definitely doesn't need it since everything is perfect.

Note: Image from since I lost the original image

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Heineken Brewery

Stadhouderskade 78
1072 AE Amsterdam, Netherlands
020 5239222

The misses and I arrived in Amsterdam around 3 pm, and decided to go to the Heineken Experience right away since it was close to the hostel and we couldn't take any culture on that day. The tour is a bit pricey at 15 euros per person, but Amsterdam is such a tourist city, so everything is expensive. I felt like if I got 1 more beer, the price would be completely justified. The tour is very high tech, with lots of screens and movies flashing everything Heineken. I will take you on a picture tour of the place.

Me in front of a demonstration vat:

They let you taste the wort. Essentially liquid cereal without any alcohol

You then get some samples where they teach you how to "enjoy" Heineken. They say to drink beer fast and try not to get much foam. Whatever

Back in the 60s, Heineken created a bottle that could be donated to poor people after drinking to be used as building blocks for buildings. I kinda want a house like this:

You finally finish up in the tasting room where you get 2 beers. You have a choice between Heineken and Heineken Extra Cold, which is served at the freezing point. Other places in Amsterdam served Amstel this way, and I think its the way to go. Quite amazing

Embarrasing pic and video of us at the brewery:



Orval Trappist

Type: belgian trappist ale
Origin: Orval, Belgium
Price: €3.50 per 4 pack

Ah, so much better than the Maredsous Tripel. Orval is one of the 7 trappist beers, and it is a good cheap one. It has a great wheaty, malty alcoholy balance that is an absolute pleasure to drink. It has a wonderful buttery feeling to it where it melts in your mouth. Definitely the crack cocaine of beers.

Maredsous Tripel

Type: belgian tripel
Origin: Denee, Belgium
Price: €1.01 per 12 oz

I reviewed the Maredsous Brown already and was not impressed. I was looking forward to the Tripel to help Maredsous redeem themselves, but I am slightly disappointed with it. It lacks most of the great features of other tripels, and even has a strange aftertaste. This is still a factor of ten better than the Brown, but it is inferior to most tripels I've reviewed on this site. At least it only cost me a euro.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bear Republic XP

type: pale ale
origin: Cloverdale, CA
price: $7/22 oz

Unfortunately my opinion of Bear Republic has been shaped by Racer 5; not that it's a sub-par beer, even if it does "taste like tits" (thanks for that one Brats), but it has a tendency of creating tunnel drinko-vision. It's like when you've been using 2-ply tp and then you switch to 4-ply: Holy shit, that's a chap-free butthole! In similar regards, this beer is making me re-consider this brewery as a major player. I knew from the instant I opened this, as aromas exploded in my face like a bubble. The flavors and hop balance are beautiful. It explooooodes.

Karl Strauss To the Nines

type: Imperial IPA
origin: San Diego, CA, USA
price: $8

To the Nines is supposed to be a Holiday Ale that gets its name from having 9 types of hops, a 9.9 % abv and 99 ibus. This Imperial IPA beer is super dry hopped, unique, and surprisingly really delicious. The only thing "holiday" in this beer is that it has a slight spice to it with a sweet finish. I followed this up with a tower 10 IPA with a friend on a Wednesday overlooking the pond at the Karl Strauss Sorrento Valley Botanical Gardens location, not a bad day. Way to step it up Karl.