Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stillwater Artisanal American Farmhouse Ale


Type: porter belgian farmhouse ale?
Origin: Westminster, Maryland
Price: $11.99 per 750 mL
Website

Let me start out by saying this is not even close to what I was expecting. It says "American Farmhouse Ale" on the front, so I was expecting an american take on the traditional Belgian Farmhouse Ale, you know something wheaty, with wild yeasts, earthy flavors and high in alcohol but still light enough to drink. Since they really don't have a website, just a blog (seriously guys, basic html is not too difficult), I can't take any cues from their description. This is simply a porter with possibly (and I mean possibly) a farmhouse ale under it. The color is completely dark and there is no head. It is also a bit flat, which is normally a negative, but with porter-style beers is not necessarily a death sentence. The malts are not oppressive on this, which is a huge redeemer since I was not expecting a porter for dinner. In all honesty, it is not worth the price. $12 to be duped for a marginally alcoholic (only 7.4%), mislabeled average porter. I can probably go to the Beagle, pick any random porter, and it will probably be much better than this.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Red Branch Diabhal


Type: belgian ale
Origin: Sunnyvale, California
Price: $5.99 per 0.5 L
Website

I must say that I am a sucker for pop-tops, although I think I need to change that. This beer is simply mediocre. This is a belgian style ale that is fermented with honey, which is usually pretty damn tasty, but everything tastes watered down and boring with this. They are trying to emulate a belgian tripel, but there is nothing similar. There is no head, and has a flat flavor. After pouring my first glass and tasting it (and hence writing this review), I performed an experiment. Pop the top back on, shake vigorously (to aerate), then pour into my glass. This created a light head that quickly dissipated. Not cool. This did however bring the honey flavor out to play, so I guess that was a success. At least its 8.2%, so I have a chance of getting shit-bombed and then forgetting about the taste of this warlock.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Drake's Denogginizer Imperial IPA


Type: Imperial IPA
Origin: San Leandro, California
Price: $6.79 per 22 oz
Website
IBU: 90
ABV: 9.75

I was in the mood for some completely over-the-top beers and this one caught my eye. The name is ridiculous, the IBUs and ABV are high, and I've never had anything from Drake's, so this definitely fit the bill. Also, shopping at BevMo! is really getting harder, and if I see anything I haven't had, I pretty much get it. For an imperial IPA, this is not too overpowering. It has 4 different types of hops, lending it a very smooth hop balance. It has a bit of a strong ale thing going on with a nice syrupy mouth feel. The malts are laid back in this one, but they are still there if you dig deep. On the bottle it says the Munich and Crystal malts help "balance out the hop assault". I couldn't have said it better myself. If this was a dollar cheaper, it would always be in my fridge. Hopefully with more publicity, that day can come sooner.

Dutch Republic Lager

type: Lager
origin: Holland?
price: $3.99 at Fresh and Easy
abv: 4.8

I don't know about this beer. Never heard of it, their website sucks and just mentions that they sell it at fresh and easy, and it tastes just like Heineken, but shit it's $3.99 for a 6 pack vs the $8 or so shitty Heineken is. Honestly you can't taste the difference between the two unless your in Amsterdam drinking Heineken on tap. It also says they won silver at the US Open Beer Championship, I would guess in the category mediocre beers that taste like other mediocre beers, or the Heineken look alike or...I mean shit it even has the same green bottle and similar logo. Basically if your a dumbass and want to buy a case of Heineken save yourself some money and buy this. Fresh and Easy also has Steel Kettle for $4 a 12 pack if you want a beer like Keystone or Naty (Natural Ice). Oh one more thing, it says 1581 on it even though the Brewery(fresh and easys storage closet) starting making them this year. Can they make a brewery next that tastes like Allagash but is cheap? if so I would be into that

A practical guide to beer flavors with snobby sounding names

So after being scorned by my fellow bloggers about using the description 'fruit esters' in one of my reviews, I decided it would be fun- and hopefully enlightening- to write a quick and dirty guide that traverses some basic flavors and aromas beer drinkers commonly encounter. These typical flavors and aromas are produced by certain chemicals with names that usually turn people off. Also worth noting : they are usually associated with snobbery. And I agree that 99% of people don't give two shits, although it took some convincing on Andy's part. Honestly, who gives a damn about technicalities if you aren't making beer yourself? If you ever do decide to brew beer some day, as the Andrews household has begun to do so, this might deem itself worthwhile.

Without further ado!



Diacetyl: A chemical produced during beer production that gives beers a butterscotch flavor. This can be easily confused with caramel flavors from malts. The latter is desired, the former is not.

Esters: A large number of flavors are caused by esters, and those esters are byproducts of the strain of yeast used to make beer. The most commonly experienced is that of banana as evident in hefeweizens and belgian ales. More specific these are termed fruity esters since not all esters produce fruit like flavors.

Phenols: The most common flavor associated with phenols is that of cloves. In general its a spicy like flavor and aroma. This is also very common in hefeweizens and belgian ales. Phenols are also a byproduct of the strain of yeast employed in the fermentation process.

As such, this is why the most important ingredient needed that produces the typical flavors in your run of the mill hefeweizen or Belgian beer is the strain of yeast. There is no way to replicate a Belgian ale without using a Belgian strain of yeast. And there is no way to produce a proper hefeweizen without using the proper yeast strain. This is why there is such a big difference in the flavor profile of an American wheat beer versus a German wheat beer. The only major difference besides the yeast is the quantity of wheat used.

So, moral of the story, yeast matters a ton. Although I will admit, using esters to describe a flavor is silly unless you are trying to figure out how to replicate a beer recipe.

Now go have a drink on me. I will reimburse you I'm rich.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Iron Fist Renegade Blonde

type: blonde ale
origin: Vista, CA
price: $11/750ml at Wine Steals, Hillcrest
abv: 5.0

I'll start by saying I am a huge fan of beer in large bottles. 750 ml is big enough, but I'm hoping 1L bottles come out soon. I don't think I've seen an Iron Fist beers in anything but 750, so +1.

This is from a relatively new San Diego brewery, Iron Fist, which I've been impressed with so far. This ale, specifically, is by all means a simple ale, but that's not necessarily bad. It's highly carbonated, and very malty, making it an excellent addition to a beautiful Sunday afternoon in SD. Interestingly enough, I started to enjoy this more towards the end of the bottle, when the beer warmed up a little. But don't take the very last sip or you might get some yeast-poo in your mouth.

FYI, the selection at the Wine Steals is commendable, and at the moment prices aren't above market; Sculpin is $6/22, which is dirt cheap.


Mission Valley Beer Festival 2011



On Sunday March 27th Samer, Andy, Chris, and others headed over to the mission valley beer festival with, to be honest few expectations other then the fact that there was going to be unlimited tastings of quality San Diego breweries. I arrived around 12:30 for the event that went from noon to 6 p.m. After starting with a Stone Cal-Belgique I ventured through the festival and was blown away by the food selection, which included; pork carnitas, braised pork, sausage roll w pepper saurekrat, oysters, a cheesesteak fried ball with tongue, and lastly delicious tiny pubcakes. The breweries serving at the festival included Airdale, Ballast Point, The Bruery, East Lake Brewhouse, Firehouse, Hess, Iron Fist, Karl Strauss, Back Street Brewery (according to Andy Buck Street yee ha) La Jolla Brewhouse, Left Coast, Mission, New English, Oggis, Stone, and Green Flash from what I can remember.

Following is my memory of beers served:

Ballast Point - Sculpin
Green Flash - Belgian Brown and 30th St Pale Ale
Karl Strauss - Pintail Ale and a Doppelbock
Left Coast - Voodoo, Trestles, Asylum, and Hop Juice (needless to say there was a huge line for this one)
Stone - Cali Belgique and Vanilla Porter, followed by Self Righteous and their IPA after they ran out of beer around 4 (Way to go Stone on the great selection)
Mission - IPA, Blonde
Iron Fist - Renegade Blonde and Hired Hand
Oggis - Torrey Pines (only one I cared to try or remembered)

There are more, but after tasting all of these in a 6 oz cup I have no fucking idea what else I drank. All the great food, great beer, some sunshine, bands like geezer (a weezer cover band), and the ridiculously cheap price I will definitely be coming back to this one. I would also suggest checking out the CityBeat Festival of Beers April 9th and the San Diego International Beer Festival June 24-26th, both unlimited drinks and a good time, I know the nonsnob crew will be at both.



Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel


Type: dark lager
Origin: Aying, Germany
Price: $3.29 per 0.5 L
Website

This is really a simple dark lager. For anyone that has been to Germany or Czech Republic, many places specialize in a dark and a light lager. This is a perfect representation of the dark. Smooth, slight bitterness, some malted coffee notes, very light. Just fantastic.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bitburger


Type: Pilsner
Origin: Bitburg, Germany
Price: $4.99 per 4 pack of 0.5L
Website

The only way to describe this is a more bitter pilsner. It really has a bit of spiciness, something you never see in any pilsners. And this is pretty fucking cheap. Could definitely sit out any drink a ton of these while some wenches bring me pretzles and salted pork. They also make Konig Pilsner and Köstritzer Schwarzbier, which are also delicious beers.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pinkus Organic Hefeweisen


Type: hefeweisen
Origin: Münster, Germany
Price: $3.99 per 0.5 L
Website

I just got this beer at Whole Foods and I noticed it because it wasn't there 2 days ago and I've never seen it before. The bottle is pretty lame and reminds me of buying sasparilla and is very faux early 1900's. They are owned by Merchant Du Vin, so the bottles are very similar to Samuel Smith's. The taste is exceptional of course with a nice light sour wheat flavor. The color is a very vibrant neon yellow. The smell is a nice sour wheat that is not too overpowering. And the price is pretty damn good.

Alpine Nelson Ale


Type: Rye IPA
Origin: Alpine, CA
Price: $8 22oz
7% ABV
website

This is a tasty beer, very tasty. It reminds me of session ales, except that it's freakin' 7%, therefore not for session drinking. That depresses me, I want to drink a lot of this on a hot summer day, something like San Diego in January (are you jealous non-San Diegans?). This has a very forward hop aroma, I imagine it was dry hopped with a tremendous amount of product. Grapefruit, grass, and citrus is what I picked out, but I didn't try hard enough because I just wanted to drink the damn thing. The best part? Not overly bitter and green on the palate. Hurray! I can taste after consuming! A rare treat for San Diego brewed IPA's. What surprised me though was that I couldn't really taste any rye, at least according to my tasting notes. Now if this beer was 5% and $4 it would be my go to IPA, but its not. Its unfortunate. Okay okay, how about 7% and $4? That's reasonable. Cuz I'm broke. Someone give me money.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Iron Fist Golden Age


Type: belgian strong ale
Origin: Vista, California
Price: $10.99 per 750 mL
Website

This was another new one I found at Whole Foods. There were about 8 varieties they sold there, and I decided to start at with a style I know a decent bit about (I also decided that 9.2% ABV was a sufficient ABV/$ ratio). For a golden ale, this is a bit dark. The best comparison I can think of is it is similar to many belgian dubbels, with a orangish brown color and a slight maltiness. The webpage claims hints of lemon, apple, and grape, but I don't really get it. I pretty much just taste a malted wheat beer, which is probably one of my favorite things. Its definitely an enjoyable beer, and we need to make a trip up there to truly assess the quality of this new brewery in North County.

Reinaert Wild Ale


Type: Flemish Wild Ale
Origin: Belgium
Price: $11 750mL
9% ABV

Purchased this at the same time as the Echt Kriekenbier because I was craving sour ales after the fantastique Chez Monmee. What caught my eye with this one was the whopping 9%ABV, far stronger than any sour I'd ever seen. I popped this bad boy open while we were converting a keg to a brew kettle so that we could cook up our amazing grapefruit hard lemonade!

This is one of few sours I've had that have a nice and normal golden color with the typical haze of Belgian beers. It also produced a "pwetty" pillowy white head. It had a scent I've come to know and love, that of a strong Belgian. But it had some additional complexity with more forward fruit esters, particularly apple. It is well carbonated, maybe too much for some people, but I like the extra bubbles when I'm consuming sour ales. The best part about this beer? It tastes great. Dry, slightly spiced, and balanced. Apple comes in at the end with just a touch of sour qualities. The only thing I could complain about is that it wasn't sour enough. Otherwise quite tasty.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bootlegger's Golden Chaos


Type: belgian golden ale
Origin: Fullerton, California
Price: $7.89 per 750 mL
Website

This is a new one I found at BevMo!, I was in the mood for a belgian, and the price was right. On the website, they say they used rock candy in this during the brewing process, which is definitely a first for beers I've had. They say this lends it a perfect fruit balance, and I have to completely agree. Everything about this is pretty perfect. Nice burnt orange color, good opaqueness, nice alcoholy smell with light fruity sweet aromas. The one fruit that I can really see popping through is apricot, but I can't pick anything else out. If you changed the label and put this in a Belgian supermarket, I have no doubt this would sell out. Good job Bootlegger's.

Echt Kriekenbier Ale

Type: Flemish Cherry Ale
Origin: Belgium
Price: $5.29 330mL
6.8% ABV

I had a kick for sour beer when I bought this, particularly because I was having withdrawals the day after consuming the very fine Chez Monmee. Let me say upfront that this did not satisfy me in any way whatsoever, so I still want to drive back to Alpine in hopes of drinking 1, or 8, more glasses of their sour.

This puppy pours a beautiful Robitussin red with a quickly dissolving bubbly head, much like champagne. It has a very light scent, which built up my eagerness to drink it all up. Mostly sour cherry with just a tickle of vinegar, not very complex. And then plow plow, tasted like somebody took 3 tablespoons of sugar and dissolved it in what could have been something delicious in original form. I didn't care to pick out what it tasted like, way too sweet. How the fuck is this called a Kriekenbier? Misleading.

Brent's opinion: "Girly drink, like cherry soda"
Andy's opinion: "Pussy drink"

FAIL.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Deschutes Hophenge

type: "experimental" IPA (another in the Bond Street series)
origin: Bend, OR
price: $6/22oz
abv: 9%

I'm fairly disappointed here. Surely, this is a fine craft from a fine brewery, and I had this at the Beagle a while back, which I remember really enjoying. Now, not so much. Really, it's a little too bitter and a little too sweet, so the high alcohol content is on full display. The hops are seemingly imbalanced, but maybe that explains the "experimental" nature of the beast. Having said that, I guess after a 22 at 9% I could not care less.

The first in a series of BeerPhoto Art-haus shots.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

124 Rabbit Club


Another guest review from Alex on his recent trip to New York, sampling some fine belgians at 124 Rabbit Club:


For starters, the Rabbit Club is well named, with a below street level location, VERY low light and a close environment reminiscent of an actual rabbit hole, though a bit less dirt but an appropriately grungy mood. The Friday/Sunday bartender Drew likes his music a bit loud, but his choice of punky and rocky beats nicely rounded out the vibe. Menus are readable only by candlelight, and the dude who lit up half the bar with his apple laptop was sent packing: moral being to just chill for a bit until your eyes adjust to the light, and leave your laptop at home.
The bathroom had a hilarious caged pissing black cherob statue on a giant pile of bottlecaps and rarer bottles, and there were several pony kegs scattered around and piled up in the corners.

I first ordered the Petrus aged sour pale ale at 12floz for $8, which pleased me thoroughly. After popping the cap, it poured with a thin head but good carbonation, a slightly cloudy light color, a went down with a crisp dry finish, and just enough sour to make it awesome. This beer had none of the excessive sweetness or sourness which sometimes kills an otherwise nice sour, and was pleasantly drinkable beginning to end. I will definitely return to the pale sour at some point.

After chatting with Drew a bit about the bar and the Petrus, he recommended another sour: Oude Geuze Boon, which ran $14 for 375ml: a bit pricey, but I haven't seen this beer elsewhere so for rarity the price is justified. The cork popped loudly and when poured, this beer had a tall head which wouldn't be tamed by pouring down the side of the glass, and a light color similar to the prior beer but less cloudy. After the pour we had maybe 80% head, and only 20% beer by depth, with a growing head which overflowed substantially and made me sad to spill some uncommon beer. We chatted for a while for the head to calm down, and it eventually settled to a 60% deep beer pour. When I finally got to give it a try, the nose and flavor both reminded me of fresh earth and strawberries with another awesomely soured crisp finish. It sort of reminded me of eating strawberries from the garden in the rain, while drinking good beer, an all around positive impression and consistent with the rabbit hole mood of the bar.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Poperings Homme Ale

Type: Belgian Abbey Ale
Origin: Poperinge, Belgium
Price: $4 330mL
7.5% ABV

This is one of those hard-to-find beers that is also not so well known. I'd never heard of it prior to purchasing. I must say I thought it tasted pretty bad. The bottle was a bit dusty, maybe its old and just didn't age well? The word hommel is Belgian for hops, so this is supposed to be extra hopped, perhaps a Belgian IPA if you like.

It has an attractive dark golden color and produces a nice two finger white head. The smell is absolutely basic: malts. Thats it. Maybe some spice if you search REALLY hard. It has a well rounded mouthfeel, well balanced. But who gives two shits if it tastes awful? It has a deep seated bitterness from the hops but I noticed no hop aroma or flavor. It basically tasted like stale malts, so maybe I did purchase an expired beer. I hope so for the sake of the brewery, cuz if it tastes like this fresh, ewwww.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Widmer Drop Top Amber Ale


Type: amber ale
Origin: Portland, Oregon
Price: $13.99 per variety 12 pack
Website

Amber ales are generally not a favorite of mine, but this one truly speaks to me. Most ambers have a decent malt content, but also a bit of a dirtiness. This one has a perfect crispness imparted from a good blend of hops. The malts are still there, but it is not the centerpiece of this beer. These Widmer Brothers truly know what they are doing. Now I just need to find their other beers. Perhaps a trip to Portland?

Widmer Drifter Pale Ale


Type: Pale ale
Origin: Portland, Oregon
Price: $13.99 per variety 12 pack
Website

This is the least favorite of the variety 12 pack from Widmer. It's not a bad pale ale, but there is nothing exceptional happening here. It is essentially a watered down version of the IPA. There is still good flavor, but I've definitely had better pales down here in San Diego. When you compare this to the pale ale calibration beer (Sierra Nevada Pale Ale), it is less hoppy, less flavorful, and less entertaining.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Widmer Hefeweisen


Type: hefeweisen
Origin: Portland, Oregon
Price: $13.99 per variety 12 pack
Website

Always a good go to, the hefeweisen from Widmer is a nice clean hefeweisen. It has good characteristics of most hefes: nice opaqueness, slightly sweet flavor, good golden color, nice wheat flavors. The main thing that distinguishes Widmer hefe from others is the slightly sour lemon flavor that pops through. It lends a crispness that is not evident in other beers. Hence why they add a lemon wedge to this at bars, although thats pretty rediculous.

Widmer Broken Halo IPA


Type: IPA
Origin: Portland, Oregon
Price: $13.99 per variety 12 pack
Website

I was at Ralph's last week, and I needed some brewskies. Most everything there I've either had or was pretty much macrosuck. I am very well acquainted with Widmer's hefe (which is a good go to beer in very basic bars), so I decided I should become acquainted with some of their other beers. And having had all 4 already in the pack, I must say they definitely have their shit together. This IPA is pretty damn good. Its clean and refreshing, has a nice floral citrusy hop balance, and is the perfect beer to drink for a nice pleasant afternoon. This should be their flagship beer over the hefe, and stores need to take note.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Counterpoint

830 25th Street
San Diego, CA 92102-2765
(619) 564-6722

Last night I realized I've come to expect good beer at any bar I go to. If they don't have the goods, NBD - it's Miller time, but if they do... tits up. The selection here is not huge, and not exceptionally diverse, but it's good stuff in the grand sceme of craft brews. The space is nice (and actually fairly big) and the crowd is young/middle aged. I had the pastrami sandwich*, which rocked my balls. The only thing I was disappointed with was the size of some of the pours. The other night at the Beagle I got Victory Hop Wallop in pint form; here, 8oz, for the same price. Oh well, at least there's another reason to come to Golden Hill besides Luigi's pizza and the Turf Club.

* According to a credible source, the Bologne sandwich is ball-rocking as well.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Oskar Blues Old Chub

type: scotch ale
origin: Longmont, CO
price:
abv: 8.0%
website

Back-to-back Scotch ale reviews, a good way to keep your tastings true. Be not afraid of the can! Great beer can be in an aluminum vessel, it just probably wont age too well. This, compared to the Hw 78 ale, is a little more sweet, and tastes slightly more alcoholic. Still, here is a great ale that will knock you on your ass. Ales like this are definitely an acquired taste, and I think I'm on my way.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Stone/Port/Green Flash Highway 78

type: Scotch ale
origin: San Diego, Ca
price: 3/12-oz
abv: 8.8%

Another collaboration beer, and another win. This is just superb. There's a really great interaction between the malts and alcohol I think only a Scotch ale can espouse. Modest sweetness balanced with bitterness. I like it because after every drink the flavors linger for a while, gently reminding you to take another sip. This was probably the quickest I've ever drank a review beer.

I'm impressed so far with the Stone collaborations, and this certainly doesn't disappoint. If only they could make the real highway 78 so wonderful; as it stands, I'll take a great ale over a shitty north county highway any day.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Squatters Outer Darkness

type: Russian Imperial Stout
origin: SLC, Utah
price: $10/25oz
abv: 10%
website

Another gem from the recon-man. Part of a "reserve series", this is a cold-cellared imperial stout. It takes about a minute for the head to develop, but when you get a taste of the complexity it's worth the wait. I tasted some hickory (maybe even licorice), and the beer definitely has a sweet creaminess to it, and finishes with intense smoke (almost to the point of burnt, black coffee). It's quite a mellow, drinkable stout given the abv, but nonetheless very well done.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Squatters Hop Rising

type: double IPA
origin: SLC, Utah
price: $1.50/12oz (at the brewery in UT). Seriously.
abv: 9% (again, seriously.)

The beer recon-man strikes again! Chris was in Utah hittin' the slopes (I'm pretty sure he was wearing blue jeans as he slalomed too), and came across this wonder. The first thing punching you in the face is the intense hopped bitters and aromas. But those taper off into an amazingly clean finish. The flavors linger, but not oppressively, and it's easy to justify any shortcomings (if you can find them) given the price and strength. And so my friends, this ranks in the best-of-class category for me.

Chris, let me extend to you an honorary membership to the Non-snob crew. Well done. Here's your favorite song from your favorite band. Seems appropriate.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Alpine Chez Monmee


Type: Lambic style sour ale
Origin: Alpine, CA
Price: $5 10oz at Alpine Beer Co.
6% ABV

Andy "Randy" and I, with some good company, made a trip out to the Alpine Beer Co. pub for some great food and delish beer. Turns out the food is delish and the beer is quite wonderful with a great selection. Unfortunately, I ran into this bad boy, and I wouldn't drink anything else all night.

The name is a play on words, pronounced "shame on me", cute isn't it? I like to think of it as a strawberry brunette in color; quite unique, cloudy, and sexy. It smells of apple cider vinegar with sour cherry mixed in, and almost like a wet dog stench that dominates. Oddly appetizing for its unusual nose. Its a light bodied beer, with a tingling carbonation that goes super well with its extra sour mouth puckering bite. I couldn't get enough of this, and I begged for a growler of it, but they said no :( The best part about it is the more I drank, the more I was able to pick out its complexities and get past the cherry apple vinegar quality that mostly dominates. It had a wonderful nutty finish that I still can't get over. I will be dreaming about this bad boy for quite some time. Its tastier than the Duchess de Bourgogne, and that's saying a lot coming from me. Sambo Approved.

Ommegang BPA

type: Belgian Pale Ale
origin: Cooperstown, NY, USA
price: $5/16oz

As I was watching the SDSU Aztecs basketball team win their conference at a local bar I was able to try a few beers and started with the BPA. I was surprised how good this was. The beer has a citrus taste, some hop flavors, and a malty finish. At 6.2% this beer has tons of flavor and is also very easy to drink. I like the combination of pale with belgian and absolutely love this beer.

Left Coast Trestles IPA

Type: IPA
Origin: San Clemente, California
Price: $6.99 per 22 oz
Website

This beer must be new, as I recall them having an IPA. This beer has the nice bubbly hop head you would expect and is damn smooth with an alcohol of only 6%. My only problem is when I think Left Coast and IPA I think Hop Juice, their double IPA, which is hopalicious and this beer is barely an IPA. I think this beer comes in at number three with Hop Juice #1 and the Asylum number two. Even though I enjoyed this, it was nothing special and I probably won't get it again.

Alpine Beer Company

A baking tray full of tasters. Alpine Beer Company.

2351 Alpine Boulevard
Alpine, CA 91901-2202
(619) 445-2337

A gem tucked away in east-east-county San Diego - Alpine. The brewery was closed, but the pub was open. What a treat. Not only do they have well crafted brews (and quite a diverse selection) but the BBQ is ass-kicking awesome. The brisket paired with Ugly (a strong, black IPA) is unbeatable. Some tasting notes:
  1. Alpine Ale: a nice, traditional pale ale that's actually pale with nice bitterness/hop balance.
  2. Pure Hoppiness: really, just a hopped-as-fuck IPA.
  3. Nelson: a step down from Pure in terms of hoppiness, with flavors that are spot on.
  4. Captain Stout: the weakest of the three, honestly. Weak in body and fairly sharp and biting. Reminds me of a porter.
  5. Hoppy Birthday: like Nelson, but less dry.
  6. Willy: my new replacement for Bud. Get this in 30-packs and I'll switch forever.
Sambo went totally nuts over one of their sour ales, so expect to read that soon.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Koshi Hikari Echigo

type: lager
origin: Echigo, Japan
price: $4.50/17oz
abv: 5%
website (not even Google Translator can help this one)

Whereas Sapporo is malty and sweet, this is the only the former. There's nothing interesting going on here, just a seemingly plain, Japanese-style lager with decent alcohol content. I could definitely drink 15, but not at these prices.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Weihenstephaner Vitus Weizenbock


Type: single bock wheat beer
Origin: Freising, Germany
Price: $2.99 per 0.5 L
Website

I haven't had anything bad from Weihenstephaner, and this is definitely no exception. Its kind of hard to fuck up beer when you are the oldest brewery on Earth. I had no idea what to expect on this. Whenever I see a bock style beer, I expect a darker, syrupy beer. This is a nice light fragrant and smooth beer. It has a good wheat flavor without an overpowering sweetness. The ABV is 7.7% on this, lending it a bit of heft in a way that you feel like you are not getting ripped off.