Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA

Type: IPA
Origin: East Lothian, Scotland
Price: $3.29 per 0.5 L
ABV: 6.1 %
NSP: 9.3 unscaled, 3.7 scaled

Man this bastard is skunked. I popped it open, poured a glass, walked to the living room to change the channel, and a big waft of skunk ass overwhelmed me from 15 feet away. This is definitely not my fault since I only bought this 5 days ago and did not store it in a greenhouse. The taste on this is also quite horrendous. This is the first beer I have had today, so I should be able to handle anything. You know that feeling at the bar when you're 8 or 9 deep and someone buys a pitcher of Bud Light and you instantly get cotton mouthed and can hardly squeeze down another drop. Yup, thats Belhaven Twisted Thistle for you. Calling this an IPA is also such a travesty. This has about as much hops as a Czech Pilsner, and this beer really reminds me more of a third world pilsner than an IPA. The scaled NSP on this definitely took a hit.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Marin Hoppy Holidaze

Type: christmas pale ale?
Origin: Larkspur, California
Price: $3.59 per 22 oz
NSP: 12.67

I have taken a little time off from reviews, but I promise, I have a bunch in the queue. Since its that time of year, I figured I should hit up some holiday brews (even though its not my favorite thing). This beer seemed like a good compromise since it claims to have hops in it, which is much more than other shitty winter ales. There are quite a few unique flavors in this that just slap you upside the face. A non-experienced drinker could pick most of them out. On the nose and first flavors, there is a strong chardonnay characteristic coming through. This may be due to the superposition of nutmeg, cinnamon, orange peel and vanilla extract. Those individual flavors are definitely there (with nutmeg probably being the strongest). I can tell there are hops due to the dryness in the back of my mouth, but there are almost no distinct hop "flavors". Its definitely better than most winter ales I've had, and also has a freshness that is usually not evident in this category (which is probably where the hops come in). If you want a slightly different winter ale with high NSP, definitely check this out.

Monday, November 28, 2011

21st Amendment Brew Free! Or Die

type: IPA
origin: San Francisco, CA (can says MN, but that's one of their distributors)
price: $7/12oz on Virgin Air
abv: 7.0%
NSP: 3.6 (6.2 at non-airline price)

First airline review, bitches!

So Virgin is officially awesome, and 21st is brilliant for canning and pushing their beer into other markets.  I watched television, and drank delicious IPA on my way up to the P-town over Thanksgiving, thanks to them.

This beer has a great color, tastes light to medium bodied, and nicely bittered and hoppy.  It's not really very aromatic, but maybe that was because the airplane air purification system sucks harder than the Bill O'Reilly Christmas special on Fox. We'll do it live!!!  Added bonus, the can design is awesome.  Well done, now I'm off to Lagunitas...

NOTE: Virgin charges $25 per bag, but here's the trick: Check it in at the terminal, after they ask for volunteers (free of charge).  Booyah, Merica!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

LIghtning Old Tempest

type: strong ale
origin: San Diego, CA
price: $7.99/22oz
abv: 9.0%
NSP: 7.3

I don't really know how to classify this, but it reminds me of a strong ale mixed with a dash of Coca Cola - what you wish barleywine would taste like.  That description may not sound appealing, but this really tastes wonderful.  The complex flavors perfectly complement the heaviness and sweetness; it's a big bastard at 9%, and a perfect beer for a hazy day.  I'm definitely cellaring this one.

Lightning rocks balls, but I'm still confused why they're in the backseat of the SD beer car?

I'll be back after Thanksgiving break, fresh full of drunkard stories from the land of Luma.  Until then, drink up.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

type: brown ale
origin: Milton, DE
price: $4.50/12oz
abv: 12%
NSP: 9.5

I think the wood aging had one purpose here: take an undrinkable 12% brown ale and make it drinkable.   The genius behind Dogfish is they find the most obscure shit to include in the brew process.  Here, it's the 10,000 gallon barrels constructed from Paraguayan Palo Santo wood -- sure sounds off-centered to me.

But I don't much like this, and I think it's giving me a headache. Really there's just too much alcohol and the lack of carbonation makes you feel like your drinking sugary booze water (think flat keg beer two weeks after that college party, except expensive).  OK, it's not really like that, and granted there are "caramel and vanilla" flavors going on, but it ain't enough, son. The NSP is high though, so if you enjoy wood aged stuff, give it a shot.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Allagash Black

type: Belgian Style Stout
origin: Portland, Maine, USA
price: $12/750 ml
abv: 9.4%
NSP: 5.1 (10 according to me)

Geezuz christ I love Allagash. Their beers are so fucking good yet I hardly drink em, because I am not swimming in money (standard Allagash around $15 for 22). Shit though, this beer is worth every penny. This beer is brewed with roasted and chocolate malt and dark carmelized candy sugar (yum). I've had this beer a few years back and I kept an extra and aged it in my ghetto beer cellar so this gem was even better the second go around. I like the mix of a stout with a belgian - the chocolate coffee taste from the stout and the smooth fruity hints of a belgian. True that the combo doesn't always work, but it's all about a perfect balance, which this beer has. I really enjoyed this beer and praise Allagash for this. Allagash has lots of amazing beers and if you want to check em out without the huge price tag there are some beer bars that serve them, my last luck was Downtown Johnny Browns had 5 on tap for the Hamiltons tavern padre game. Needless to say that was a shit show.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bruery | Elysian | Stone - La Citrueille Celeste de Citracado

type: seasonal ale
origin: Orange County, Seattle, San Diego
price: $3/12oz
abv: 5%
NSP: 5.9

Yet another collaboration beer from Stone, with The Bruery, and Elysian (who?).   "The celestial pumpkin of Citracado" is the translation.  Cool name, and +1 for the self-reference (since the Stone brewery is off Citracado Pkwy.) making it seem like a mystical place filled with elves and beer fairies magically creating delicious beer.

But this is a delicious beer.  Citrusy, spicy, and earthy flavors dominate - definitely ones you'd expect from a good "pumpkin" ale, but done in a way that's not annoying or kitschy.  The bitterness is spot on, which is probably the reason it's not over-the-top.

The ingredients used were pumpkin, yam, toasted fenugreek, lemon verbena, and birch bark.  Or, in lay-person terms: yum, yum, "what the fuck is fenugreek", "what the fuck is verberna", "uh, ok".  Now at this point I expect Sambo to comment something like "oh yeah I used to cook with fenugreek all the time - it's used in a lot of Arab dishes" followed by "it really highlights the lemon verbena phenol esters.".  I'm sure it does, but GTFO.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Red Horse

type: lager (malt liquor)
origin: Manila, Philippines
price: $7.99/6-pack
abv: 8%
NSP: 21.3
website (I have no clue what's going on here)

Ridiculously high NSP, and surprisingly not too bad.  Obviously this isn't cellar worthy stuff, and of course the BA and RB snobs love rating this "D+", but fuck them.  To me this is easy drinking, but I wouldn't recommend more than, say, 6; otherwise, you risk a very bad hangover.  Regardless, I'll claim this is the deal of the year (And no, Matt, bargain-bin beer doesn't count.).  Good bottle design too, so this is NonSnob highly approved.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mikkeller East Kent Golding

type: single hop IPA
origin: Lochristi-Hijfte, Belgium
price: $5.99/11.2oz
abv: 6.9%
NSP: 3.8

Of course I have great respect for great beers.  But even more so, I've developed a love for ones crafted using only one type of hop.  It seems to me quite an impressive feat to retain complex flavors without using a complex array of ingredients.

This beer happens to be with the East Kent Golding hop (from Europe, traditionally used in English beers).  It's superb, and reminds me of drinking a nice heavy ale mixed with some apple cider.  The bitterness is almost perfect, but I think if could be a bit more aromatic - that would take this to 11.

Yes I wish this was a few dollars cheaper, and for that reason I probably won't be buying again, but I still think this would've scored high at the blind IPA tasting, right alongside it's brother Green Gold.

And heres another thought: how great is it that a top-notch Belgian brewery has been making "American style" IPAs?  That sure does make me proud to be and American, cuz at least I know I'm free.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Deschutes Green Lakes Organic Ale

type: amber ale
origin: Bend, OR
price: $2/12oz (estimated)
abv: 5.2
NSP: 9.3

I somewhat screwed the pooch on this review.  The "best by" date was almost three months ago, so I really should've done this  the day after Sambo went to some distributor tasting event, at which he got shitfaced and stole a bunch of booze (including this).  They also demonstrated how best to maximize profit by beer value and placement; hence, it was a bullshit ball gargling type event and I'm proud of our young Middle East Correspondent.

I digress.

This is delicious and extremely refreshing (think non-shitty Kokanee, but in ale form).  It starts off a bit too malty but that disappears into crisp, slightly bitter refreshment; it's even well hopped so the aromas are inviting, but the IBU is not too wild.  I can see getting home from a long bike ride and downing at least three of these - probably more like six.

While I acknowledge the level of pooch-screwage I've created, I plan to pick this up next time I'm at the store and confirm that it probably tastes much better very, very fresh.  And no, I don't really give a shit about it being "organic," unless your entire brew lineup is.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lagunitas Bavarian Styled Doppel Weizen

type: strong wheat beer
origin: Petaluma, CA
price: $4.99/22oz
abv: 9.0%
NSP: 11.7

This one's a sneaky bugger. Crisp, spicy flavors combine with that classic wheat-beer acidic wonderfulness forming an extremely drinkable, delicious beverage - beer that is. The "Bavarian Styled" monicker is in reference to the yeast strain they received from Bavaria; but, rather than take it at face value they pulled an American Eater and overfed it so they could reach 9%. So, when you finish it you're well satisfied, but then you realize it's nine-f'ing-percent and now you've got to drive across town. Uh oh.

As the NSP already suggests, this is a good value, but since it's so delicious it comes very highly recommended. I might argue it's more enjoyable than Thunderweizen. I'm really looking forward to visiting my brother in Petaluma in a month...

One more thing... I'm really sorry for the shit-ass pictures, but I lost my already-shitty camera in SF the other weekend, and now I've been relegated to using the webcam on my laptop. As any melodramatic person would write, FML.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Belgium Belgo IPA

Type: Belgium Style IPA
Origin: Fort Collins, CO
Price: $.80 12oz 8% ABV
NSP (unscaled,scaled): 35.5, 21.3

So I have been MIA and sticking to the greatest hits beers, but I was at Vons and they had these in the cheapO rack and I figured .80 cents at 8 percent, now thats a good NSP deal. 35.5 boo ya, beat that bitches.

The beer itself was okay, I mean New Belguim pretty much sucks, but this is better then the flat ranger and very easy to drink at 8 %. If you find it for eighty cents like I did it's a steal at regular price maybe not.

No pint picture because well I am lazy. The beer has a great flower smell and a nice rich off white head, but it just not exciting to me, not bad, but I am just not a New Belgium fan, especially with so many more amazing breweries in Colorado that green mushroom them.

New Belgium Super Cru

Type: Saison
Origin: Fort Collins, CO
Price: $13.99 22oz
10% ABV
NSP (unscaled,scaled): 4.6, 7.4

It's Halloween, and I decide to look ridiculous while drinking a ridiculously expensive beer. I mean why the fuck not? I'm an Arab dressed as an Arab drinking expensive as shit beer wearing expensive as shit sunglasses with a pillowcase for a fucking head garb. It makes perfect sense, considering I deal in oil and gold while the rest of those schmucks die fighting for their "freedom" and then elect Muslim governments into power. I can't believe I'm related to those fucking idiots.

On to the beer. It's tasty. It has asian pear juice added and you definitely get apple/pear flavors adding to an already fruity saison. I liked it, I liked it a lot, but for God's sake, its so fucking expensive. I won't buy again, but hey, it was fun, and I'm a ballin' Arab who is in insane amounts of debt. I'm not giving any more details, stop being cheap fucks and go out and splurge every once in a while. And stop voting for politicians who make decisions based on religious principles you fucking dipshits.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Harpoon Single Hop ESB (100 Barrel Series)

type: English-style ESB
origin: Boston, MA & Windsor, VT (Huh?)
price: $5.75/22oz at Spec's
abv: 5.8%
NSP: 6.6

This is ridiculously good, and now I'm bummed the only place I've seen it is in fucking Houston, Texas. Fruity sweet aromatics, followed by a perfect level of bitterness. If the Delta hop is the reason for this delicious concoction, I'm placing it up there with Amarillo in terms of single-hop beers. I'm looking forward to finding some more releases by Harpoon (this was barrel 31), but I think I'll have to talk to Sid at BDBS to do that.

A few things to note here:
  1. That's my "Tail Chasin' Champ" hunter's hat in the background.
  2. It may be hard to see, but the brewer's signature toward the bottom of the label appears to be by a 6 year-old learning how to write.
  3. This is tasting really good right now as I watch "Michael Winslow Live" (thanks Netflix). Yeah, that Michael Winslow.