Saturday, September 27, 2014

Evil twin: sour bikini

type: Sour pale
origin: Mount Pleasant, SC
price: $13/22oz at Ale Arsenal
ABV: 3%
NSP: : 1.5

What does a sour bikini taste like? Lightly salted. If it was ever hoppy, those flavors are long gone, except a hint of bitter. A little tangy fruit. Light and crisp, best served cold. Slightly cloudy, mild carbonation.

evil twin

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Central Waters Sixeen

Type: barrel aged imperial stout
Origin: Amherst, Wisconsin
Price: $15 per bottle ($5 ticket for bottle sale and event)
ABV: 11%
NSP: 4.77

Got this from my brother and pops who went to the release on a ball-crushingly cold January in Wisconsin. And I probably would have done the same if I knew how good this was. All you really need to do is think of a slightly thinner Parabola with the only defect being a slight burn on the finish. The most dominant notes are chocolate, vanilla and the bourbon soaked oak. Think about just holding a super decadent chocolate truffle in your mouth while taking a tiny sip of bourbon. That is CW 16 in a nutshell. Not quite on par with Parabola or BCBS but pretty damn close. I could definitely drink this all day if it was ever sold again :(

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Almanac Farmers Reserve Blackberry

Type: blackberry sour
Origin: San Francisco, CA
Price: $11.59 per 375 mL
ABV: 7%
NSP: 2.26

As you can tell, I'm getting more into sours. It seems to be the style becoming most en vogue these days, and I'm just jumping balls first into them. One of the more prominent sour purveyors in these parts is Almanac, and while the NSP is not roaringly high, the smaller bottle format makes them slightly more affordable in the sour game. I have had the chance to try several other offerings that I didn't review (Brandy Barrel Peche and Dogpatch Sour), and they were both superb. Not best in show, but if this were a dog show, they would be the ones running straight through the barriers to the finish line. They just want to get you to the finale without fucking around. Like, here is a sour beer and bam, fucking peaches. Fucking peaches...

So riddle me this, have I ever had a blackberry beer? No.

Am I qualified to review this? Probably not, but that never stopped me before. I know what is supposed to taste good and I know what's poisonous.

First thing I note is this has got a pinkish hue. Definitely odd, but whatever, it looks pretty. The smell has got a nice sour funk on it. A slight berry presence of indiscriminate origin (I guess blackberries, but I've never giving a good solid whiff into a bowl of blackberries). The taste is a nice dry sour, although not a huge berry punch. Its definitely not 'loads of coastal Blackberries from Swanton Berry Farm in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains' per the Almanac website, although that might be a good thing, preventing this from entering Cascade style canker sore territory. I also think the wine barrel aging may take away some of the strong berry flavors, and this kind of drinks like a carbonated chardonnay. All in all, not a bad offering, and if you like some more subtle sours, this will be up your alley.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Deschutes The Dissident (2012)

Type: Oud Bruin
Origin: Bend, Oregon
Price: $17.59 per 22 oz
ABV: 11.4%
NSP: 4.21

I was able to pick up a few of these at Chucks' cellar sale a few months back, which was definitely nice since The Dissident is brewed every few years and wasn't able to grab some back in 2012 or 2010.

First impression is this is a boozed up, albeit more subdued version of Hommage from Cantillion. Yeah I know Hommage is with raspberries and cherries and who knows what else, but the defining dry formaldehyde sour notes are apparent in both (I read somewhere that's indicative of methanol, but the solution to methanol poisoning is drinking some more can believe me, I'm a doctor of the earth). The sour on this is really nice and not canker sore inducing. Also, this completely hides the alcohol. Its strange that I compare this to a 6% sour, but it really is similar. This may be my favorite offering from Deschutes and I will be buying up any and all stores of the 2014 when it comes out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

New Belgium / Cigar City (Lips of Faith)

type: chili Belgian IPA
origin: Fort Collins, CO
price: $7/22oz
ABV: 8.5%
NSP: 7.9

I firmly believe that chili-infused beers should not be attempted by anyone except for the finest of brewers.  It's just plain frightening to think about how badly overloaded with capsaicin they can be.  Even though Cigar City is on the label, and this is a member of the Lips of Faith series, I'm still weary...

This pours, looks, and tastes like a really wonderful, well-attenuated, hoppy IPA.  To my pleasant surprise, the chili additions aren't overwhelming, and even add a nice complementary kick (as you'd hope!).  There seems to be almost a bit of cherry essence, which may be from the Spanish oak contribution.  No clue, but either way, this shit is rocking my face off because it's highly drinkable and it's strong as punk.  My only beef is that only a faint aromatic presence from the IPA is detectable.  If it were blossoming with hoppy aromas, I would be straight torqued.  I'm still very down with this.  Most everything else New Belgium offsers, however, I am not.  For example: this.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Uinta Hop Nosh

type: IPA
origin: Salt Lake City, UT
price: $10/6-pack
ABV: 7.3%
NSP: 15.5

Malt bomb IPA, incoming!  Sorry, but I'm just not totally feeling this.  It's good I suppose (and getting plenty of teat-suckage on BA): it's not quite flawed, per say, but it also is not rocking my balls in any manner besides the NSP.  If there were a non-snob metric for ball rocking beers, we would've figured out that malty IPA don't rock no balls.  There's a bit of peanut butter and ash on the finish, which I've tasted before in more forgettable IPA, and is undoubtedly a malt/hop combo. Maybe next time, Uinta.  Or am I totally off base here?  I feel like I'm being too harsh on it, but that's because the ethanol is going to my brain.  So I guess it aint so bad after all.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Blaugies / Hill Farmstead la Vermontoise

type: saison
origin: Dour, Belgium
price: $12/750ml
ABV: 6.0%
NSP: 3.8

I ran across this at Beltramos, but it was quite old at that point.  Regardless, it's an easy beer-decision to make when you see Hill Farmstead on the bottle, even if the NSP is dreadful.

The lack of freshness was definitely an issue: the excess yeast was hard at work, and produced abundant head/carbonation; and there's a faint skunkiness rushing out of the bottle. Oh well, got me some drinkin' to do.

It is indeed a farmhouse saison, apparently brewed with 'spelt', and Amarillo hops.  Aside from the age-induced problems, this gives off a rich and intense aromatic experience, that's also loaded with pepper, earthy, fruity, saison'y goodness -- yum. The body quite nice too.

Overall, I'd say this is a very clean tasting, refreshing saison, and it would probably be world class at it's peak freshness too.