Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oskar Blues Gubna

type: imperial IPA
origin: Longmont, CO
price: $16/4-pack (Jesus fuck that's expensive)
abv: 10.0%

I've enjoyed Oskar Blues' beer quite often, but this doesn't make the cut. Multiple sources have said it tastes awful; I'm not so sure I'll go that far, but it just doesn't work for me. It's too expensive for the kind of boring flavors going on. It tastes too alcoholic for it's own good, and I agree with others I've heard that say you get "metallic" flavors. It's got absolutely gorgeous coloration, but that's all I can say with a straight face.

Note to brewers: You can't charge Dogfish Head prices for beer that's not Dogfish Head quality.

Note to Beer Advocate reviewers rating this upwards of 100: You're all fucking idiots.

Nuff said.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Avery The Reverend Quadruple Ale

Type: Belgian style quadruple
Origin: Boulder, CO
Price: $6.99 22oz
10% ABV

I love the way Avery bottles look. I just don't love this particular beer though. It smells a'ight and has the color of cough syrup. It's low on carbonation, but I don't mind in this case. I do mind the taste. It starts off with a sharp alcoholic punch to the mouth. It's full of flavor, a somewhat enjoyable flavor. But then it finishes with a metallic taste that completely ruins it for me. It's definitely a fruity beer. But it doesn't handle its alcohol content so well and who the hell wants to taste metal when drinking beer? At 9%ABV the Avery Salvation offering is leaps tastier in my book with only 1% less alcohol content than this brew.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Asahi Super Dry

Type: Lager
Origin: Japan
Price: $4 1L
4.9% ABV

Okay, this has got to be the sickest f'ing can of beer on the planet. So I was walking back and forth in the Ralph's beer aisle for some decent brewsky to drink at a friends house, when out of the corner of my eye I see this behemoth. Holy mother of God, a 1 liter can of beer. That's 33.8 ounces of beer folks!

Now a reasonable person might object that the beer would get too warm before it ever gets drunkity up. My take: Don't be a pussy, drink faster. Not to mention that Asahi is my go to beer when dining on sushi. Saporro is decent too, but I like Asahi's slightly drier finish. Kirin Ichiban tastes similar to what I would imagine my piss tastes like, not good.

Now all you hipsters out there, don't ruin how cool this can is too quickly.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Type: Lager
Origin: Holland
Price: $2.29 16oz
5% ABV

Grolsch is so much tastier than Heineken in my book. Its slightly skunky, refreshing, crisp, and has a smooth bitter characteristic that is much more refined than Heineken. Its milder in a way, and less bitter. Nice malt flavors that are fraiche fresh. And a sweet bottle to boot. Can't go wrong with this bad boy. Sambo approved.

On a side note, why are almost all beers coming out of Holland in green tinted bottles?

Russian River Brewing Co.

725 4th Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404

So if I had to describe heaven it would be this place. Not only did they have 18 beer flights the place had amazing food too.

We pulled up to Russian River in a limo after drinking some Horny Devil on the way up (Yes ridiculous, but who the hell would want to dd to this place). I couldn't decide what to get first so I started with a Pliny the Elder, which as we know is delicious, followed by their Salvation, a strong dark ale that was absolutely amazing. Seriously I was a little excited at this point, everyones like Matt calm down, and then this behemoth of a flight appeared. I then followed to be very snobbish tasting every flight amongst a group of 6 people while we discussed the taste of each (basically me annoying everyone).

Below is a list of all the beers but a few contained in the flight

Russian Rivers belgian styles ales were all absolutely amazing and their IPAs are no joke, the only thing I can say that needs work is their stout. But hey 17 out of 18 is not bad, I mean I can safely say this is the best beer I have ever had at a brewery. The brewpub also has a great atmosphere with a nice outside patio area, parking in the back, and lots of tvs. If I lived up there I would be there once a week and would be "that guy" at the bar.

After Russian River we went to Lagunitas, which had some solid beers, but also a few shitty ones. I wasn't to impressed, but who could be after going to Russian River, I mean I was wasted off sours and IPAs. One thing I could say about Lagunitas is their stout is solid along with decent IPAs. Czech Pilsner was also really good at this point as we bought 2 growlers for the way back.

Hopefully this tour will be as good as the Non Snob 1 Year Anniversary Brewery tour.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Alaskan White Ale

Type: Belgian style witbier (or so they claim)
Origin: Alaska
Price: $8.79 per 6-pack
5.3% ABV

Belgian style? Really? I think Alaskan fucked up and filled this bottle with clarified Widmer, because it tastes nothing like a wit, nor does it look like one. It tastes, and looks, exactly like a typical American Hefe, which is nothing to complain about. When I purchase a beer expecting a wit though, and get this, there's a lot to complain about. It's refreshing, can definitely taste some spice, but it didn't rock my balls or anything. It's a'ight, but W.T.F.? Why call it a white?

Simpler Times Lager

Type: cheap shitty lager
Origin: Monroe, WI
Price: $3.49 per 6 pack at Trader Joe's
6.2% ABV

Tastes like overly sweet under carbonated crap. Weird, cuz I could swear it tasted a'ight the last time I had it. I guess not, considering it was like 90 deg F sometime in early March. Any lager tastes refreshing when its hot. Back to the point: that's right, 90 deg F, early March. Suck on that.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Avery Collaboration Not Litigation Ale

Type: Belgian Strong Ale
Origin: Boulder, CO (303!)
Price: $7.99/22oz
ABV: 8.91% (Batch 5)

This beer is the product of a cheerful little entente between the on-the-top-of-their-game brewmasters at Avery and Russian River. The slightly long-winded name comes from their agreement to blend their breweries' respective Salvation Ales- Russian River's Belgian Strong Dark and Avery's Belgian Strong Pale (Sambo-approved)- instead of getting into a courtroom bitchslap-fest over the common name.

Right out of the bottle, something seems a little weird- there's only about two millimeters of head, despite my fairly aggressive pour. Thankfully, the lack of head wasn't a harbinger of a flat beer, because that would've ended up being a pretty shitty inaugural review. To cut right to the point, this beer is pretty much exactly what I expected, in a really good way. One thing stands out, far and away- the balance. The maltiness and raisiny quality of the Russian River version plays nicely with the lighter fruit and spice of the Avery; there's a nice zing of hops to tie the room together, and there's enough alcohol to remind you that you're not drinking iced tea without being overwhelming.

These guys have definitely shown that they have skill at blending two preexisting beers. Maybe at some point I'll buy both individually and combine them in one glass, as depicted on the label, just to see if it's hard. I'd be curious to see what they'd come up with if they collaborated on a fully original formula.

Oh, and because this is a Non-Snob Beer review: fuck.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hitachino Nest White Ale

Type: Belgian style wit ale
Origin: Ibaraki, Japan
Price: $13 700mL
5% ABV

Upon my first small serving of this beer, I immediately thought "what the hell, I don't taste anything". As such, my initial tasting notes say "pretty boring for $13". It has very light wheat qualities and if you try really hard I could pick out flavors similar to white peach. Chris, with his amazing palate, thought it was more like dried apricots. But we had to try hard, really fucking hard.

But after I poured myself a second serving the beer started to grow on me. Its just incredibly delicate, so it needs to be enjoyed alone and not with any food or other drinks. I just don't wanna spend $13 to find out.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Samuel Adams Latitude 48

type: IPA
origin: Boston, CA
price: 1.99/12oz
abv: 6

This tastes like a over-hopped Boston Lager. The name derives not from the latitude of the Boston Beer Co, but from the location of most of the Noble hop varietal. Note to brewers: using exotic sourced ingredients is not a substitute for taste. The balance is off, so this is an ale that tastes hopped -- too bitter for the alcohol and sweetness -- rather than it being a complimentary piece of the taste. Esoteric? Maybe so, but the point is this is not worth your money, and they shouldn't call this an IPA. I couldn't give less of a shit where you get your hops if the beer it makes tastes like licking a battery.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Lightning Ionizer Lager

Type: lager
Origin: Poway, California
Price: $12 per 2 liter growler at the brewery

Chris and I decided to play hooky on Friday and hit up a few breweries. We started with AleSmith and Hess which were both pretty damn good, but I think Lightning was the highlight of the afternoon. Th tasting room is only open a few hours for Friday and Saturday. Tastings are free, and they send you down a journey of 8 fantastic beers. We came in with the impression of just getting Thunderweizen, but I actually bought this and the Electrostatic Ale instead. This is probably one of the biggest surprises, specifically because this lager has so much flavor and is 8.5%, about 3% higher than most lagers. This may be the hoppiest beer that Lightning makes (probably a tie between this and the amber), which is to say it is really not that hoppy. It is surprisingly easy to drink, has a nice crisp finish. It's crazy to think that this was my step down beer from the Electrostatic.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Port Brewing Hot Rocks Lager

Type: Steinbier dunkel lager
Origin: San Marcos, CA
Price: $4 22oz.
6.5% ABV

The method used to make this style of lager is pretty sweet. So in the olden Germanic days, they used wooden brew kettles, which obviously cannot take on direct heat. Instead, these smart mo' fo's would superheat granitic rocks to over 500 degrees celsius and then drop them into the kettle in order to boil the wort (wort is beer before it has been fermented). This in turn would also caramelize the sugars and give the beer distinct flavors not achievable by standard boiling methods.

Port Brewing Co. put out a video about the making of this beer:


Although this is a really cool method, I wasn't as impressed by the beer itself. Dylplow said "it tastes like a watered down porter". I have to agree to some extent. For how dark the beer looks its actually really mild on flavor. It definitely has the qualities of a lager in both the aroma and taste, which are slightly complicated by the added flavors typically found in porters. It surely is easy drinking, but I found it a bit bland and the alcohol too obvious. It's not a bad beer by any means, and I recommend trying it since you can definitely taste the effects of using hot rocks to caramelize the sugars. I guess I just expected more.

Rudy's Bar and Grill

627 9th Avenue
New York, NY, 10036
(212) 974-9169 ‎

As soon as my brother and I walked in, some dude was being kicked out. My kind of place. This is in the heart of Hell's Kitchen, and you can tell this is a favorite of locals. The beer is pretty cheap at $7 a pitcher for their blonde and I think $9 for the red. We went with the blonde, which is not that great. They did have much better beers on tap (and not bad prices), so this is our own damn fault. They do however have all you can eat free hot dogs, which when I asked for 1, the bartender gave us 4. Can't complain with that logic.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

McSorley's Old Ale House

15 East 7th Street
New York, NY 10003-8001
(212) 474-9148

I just got back from a 3 day trip to NYC, and I saw some pretty iconic locales. McSorley's is simply a classic. The place is 150 years old, and you can immediately sense the history once inside. There are pictures of presidents and irishmen on the wall, sawdust on the floor (which is slightly unstable and tilted), and only two beers on tap: light and dark. The beers are $2.50 each and I think you have to drink the entire time. The dark has some decent malts on it, but is very reminiscent of Czech style dark lagers. The light is a bit hoppy, also similar to a Czech pilsner. I don't think there is anyway you can dislike this place unless you're an asshole.

BTW, they are both ales (not lagers), but who really cares

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Speakeasy Payback Porter

type: Porter
origin: San Francisco, Ca
price:$4.50 for 22oz
abv: 7.5%

Okay first of all I love Speakeasy bottles, but really who cares it's the beer that is important. This porter is smooth and easy to drink with a nice balance. The beer has a coffee chocolate smell, beautiful foamy almost cappuccino head and a small tiny tiny hop finish. At 7.5 % not bad. If you are ever in SF I would skip anchor and go to speakeasy, but beware it's only open on Friday from 4-9. Although this Porter is not their best they do have a solid IPA and imperial stout. Brendan wasn't to impressed with this Porter and to be honest it's nothing special, but definitely worth a drink.

Ginga Kogen

type: Japanese wheat ale
origin: Iwate, Japan
abv: 5%

Oh my, what a wonderful surprise: a Japanese ale, in a cool bottle, that follows the German Purity Law. My main concern is the lack of carbonation, but the flavors are so crisp and well-defined that the beer is still wonderfully refreshing. I suppose I need to give Japan a little more beer-credit, or maybe just this brewery. Too bad it's a little too expensive.

Hofbräu Original

Type: Bavarian Lager
Origin: Munich, Germany
Price: $2.29 0.5L
5.1% ABV

This beer is simple, full bodied, and delicious. It has that crisp malt quality German beers are famous for. It is slightly sweet, has good bitterness with hints of hops in the aroma, and is absolutely refreshing. I was also happy that it was not skunky out of the bottle, and tasted quite fresh. Hofbräuhaus is a famous beer garden in Munich, where you can relax all day and drink this wonderful beer to your heart's content. I wish I was in Germany right now doing exactly that.