Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Brew Dog 5 A.M. Saint

type: hoppy red ale
origin: Ellon, Aberdeenshire (Scotland)
price: $5/4-pack
ABV: 5%
NSP: 13.3
website

Beer from Brew Dog?  I was soured early on by a piss poor attempt at an IPA that was backed by some bullshit dick swagging (on the label).  But then I made a visit to Brew Dog in Firenze (Florence), Italy, and I decided to revisit their beers.

This is their "hoppy red ale", which is hoppy enough to make me forget about the under-attenuated malt base (it should be about 7%) and the dirty water / metallic sips and the slight funk on the tongue.  It's a good beer, to be sure, but I find myself projecting quality into the future, imagining that after just a few months of extra shelf time, this will taste like shit (once the hops have degraded in "freshness").  It may be perfect for a nice day in Scotland, though.

This is imported by Anchor, so I'm wondering if we see it more ofter in the bay area than, say, San Diego.  Maybe not, but at least it's at the local Trader Joes at a very reasonable price. So I'll buy it, but mostly because I rarely have access to Blazing World; and Hop Head Red is 8%.  And I'm not totally convinced it should be in the Lotion Club.

Finally, here's proof that I'm willing to give them another chance:

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Napa Smith Crush

type: amber lager "with grapes"
origin: Napa, CA
price: $3/22oz
ABV: 6%
NSP: 13.0
website

Napa Smith was knocked out of the IPA Tournament early, and brutally.  That organic IPA of theirs was a fat pile of bullshit, and so I've come to expect very little from them.  But, for some reason this caught my eye, and I'm rather enjoying it.

On the surface it's just a boring-ass amber lager that faintly reminds me of Oktoberfest, without the blacking-out.  But it's nothing that any German brewery couldn't blow out of the water with a small bit of [insert German word for precision stoic effort].

The trick here is the "with grapes" thing.  The only thing I can figure out is they used some small amount of trash red-wine grapes from this year's harvest, if only because of the maroon label, and the tinge of red in the appearance.  The addition works though.  There's a nice acidity that masks a bit of the harshness of the lager, and an essence of grape that mixes nicely with the carbonation.  It's got a nice ABV too.  (In terms of a harvest celebrator, it's nowhere near Great Beer... Great Wine though.)

The wifey said it "tastes like water", but then added "although... I have been drinking wine, so who knows."  Way to pony up and acknowledge any potential bias, Lyn!  That makes perfect sense though: this isn't a wine-grape lager.  No, it's a lager "with grapes", strictly as advertised.  Still, I think this qualifies for the Lotion Club, and is one (small) step towards me respecting NS.  Welcome to the club, friends.