BD in a Flying Dog: Brewhouse Rarities Cold Press Coffee Porter

type: coffee porter

origin: Frederick, MD

price: $12/6-pack

ABV: 6%

NSP: 10.7

During the course of this blog I’ve come to expect good-to-great things from FD, and this one-off holds true to my expectation. Without the coffee this would be, basically, a great robust porter (even though I almost hate the style), but FD has added cold brew from [not sure where] and making it rich in roasted malt and coffee bean flavors in a balanced way. At 6.0% there’s a decent little punch too. Enjoy fresh though: coffee doesn’t last forever, ya know.

No Steadman Art, just some of this.

Anchor Brotherhood Steam

type: dry hopped steam
origin: San Francisco, CA
price: $8/6-pack
ABV: 5.6%
NSP: 16.6

I’ve said it in the past, but I’m a sucker for great aesthetics on the outside.  It’s always a let down when the beer on the inside sucks, but this has the classic Steam flavors from Anchor’s cools-ship method — malty, slightly tang, slightly metallic.  And, with the addition of some fine dry hopping and a superb NSP, this slips quietly into the realm of fully fantastic.

I haven’t listened to CRB, but I’m pretty stoked on this description, from Anchor’s website:

In the spirit of [the ESB] tradition, we like to think of Brotherhood Steam Beer as an Extra Special Lager (ESL), aka “The Gig Beer” – an easy drinking brew from the first set to encore. In December we announced the limited release of Brotherhood Steam Beer in six-pack cans with artwork by San Francisco-based artist Alan Forbes.

Evil Twin Ashtray Heart

type: smoked porter
origin: Stratford, CT (Two Roads Brewing)
price: $3.99/12oz
ABV: 8.9%
NSP: 7.9

Most rauchbiers are overly smokey.  And most porters taste like headache to me.  Smoked porter??  Sounds like a bad fucking idea…

In this case the beer is smokey, as expected, and I can tell it’s a porter.  But it works.  Really well.

The smoke balances out the boozy porter base in a rather pleasing way.  The body is really light, and the finish is clean, too.  So this is just plain good.

I can picture myself finishing a four-pack if it weren’t so goddamn expensive.  Then again… the NSP is actually pretty good.  Damn you, Evil Twin!

Maui Lahaina Town Brown

type: brown ale
origin: Maui, HI
price: $2.50/12oz
ABV: 5.1%
NSP: 7.2

Mostly everything we get from Maui is brewed with something else: fruit, coconut, whatever.  So, I was somewhat bummed to see this had no specialty addition.  Just a plain old brown ale?  Really?  I’ll give it a shot because I have a lot of respect for Maui B.C. — they make some excellent beer, and even made me reconsider my stance against porters.

Crisp malty flavors, but not overly “brown”, meaning you get a nice level of bitterness, and some chocolate and nutty flavors.  Nothing outstanding, but pleasant.  As you’d perhaps expect with any brown ale, though, there’s a lingering coating in your mouth that’s not terribly endearing.  I don’t think it’s a flaw more than it is me hating on brown ales.

To me this tastes more like a very light chocolate stout, but it’s pleasant enough that I could see enjoying it in paradise, even though I know nothing about the town of Lahaina.
Maui Lahaina Town Brown

St. Florian’s IPA

type: IPA
origin: Windsor, CA
price: ~$7/22
ABV: 7.3%
NSP: 6.8

The beer: very good.  It’s an English style IPA that’s been somewhat Californicated.  It’s a big, delicious burst of caramel malts, a heavy dose of booze, and substantial bitterness, which goes down quite easily.  I think the only thing that could be improved upon is the aroma: it’s somewhere between lacking and nonexistent.  Give it a hefty wallop of dry hopping and take it to 11.

The brewery: It’s new, and it’s small.  There’s no tasting room (yet), and they apparently only brew this and a California Common.  I appreciate the idea of starting with a small lineup, where each is delicious, and well crafted.  I don’t care if you can make fifty different beers, I only care that you can make high quality beers; if that means you only make two, then so be it!

Legend has it that the Patron St. Florian used the water saved for the next day’s brew to “extinguish a catastrophic fire”, and is now the protector of firefighters everywhere.  Let us hope St Florian continues to protect this brewery, because they’ve got some real talent.  I’m looking forward to seeing them grow.

Brendan’s SIP: Big Al Big Hoppa IPA

Type: IPA
Origin: Seattle, WA
Price: $4.99 per 22 oz
ABV: 7.3%
NSP: 9.5

Another pick up on the Seattle IPA plow, another slight disappointment. Contains five types of hops, although this seems like some destructive interference, with just too much malt character blasting through with some brown ale notes popping through. On the plus side, the NSP is pretty good and it doesnt taste like water. Nothing else to say, just move along.

John Henry West Indies Pale Ale

Type: pale ale
Origin: Cold Spring, Minnesota
Price:$7.99 per 750 mL
ABV: 9.4%
NSP: 8.8

I should start a new beer series called ‘beers forgotten’. This has been in the back of my fridge since March. If you remember I reviewed another John Henry beer, the Colonial Cream and Brown Ale, which was quite tasty for its non-descriptness. The difference in this one is the aging with Dark Rum oak spirals and a bit more ABV. I’m actually surprised they call this a pale ale at this ABV level since its at least 2% greater than expected.

My first impression is this has a lot of cola qualities; the color and the initial flavor remind me of Coca Cola. That flavor is not long lived, and settles down into an incredibly mellow beer. The rum is evident, but more in the direction of Rum and Coke. It also has a really light mouthfeel. Other than that, there really isn’t much going on. Nothing about it reminds me of a pale ale and there is really no hop quality to speak of. It doesn’t remind me of any other beer I have had, so I guess the uniqueness and price alone should convince you to try this.

Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout

type: Irish stout
origin: Brooklyn, NY
price: ~$1.50/12oz at Binny’s in Chiwalkie Town
ABV: 4.7%
NSP: 11.1

We don’t get much from Brooklyn Brewery around these parts.  Given that their brewmaster, Garrett Oliver, wrote the most awesome book about beer I’ve ever seen (The Oxford Companion), I usually try and pick up their beers if I find them.

So their Dry Irish Stout made it back with me from Chicago.  It’s dry… and an Irish stout!  A shocker, I know, but it shouldn’t be because the style is not supposed to be hefty, like an imperial stout for example; it’s meant to be sessionable.  And, yes, this could definitely be sessionable because while it has strong notes of roasted malt/dark chocolate and coffee accents, it also has very low body and is quite dry.  It’s well crafted and nothing is wrong with it; but, it doesn’t offer anything you can’t find in a bottle of Guinness.  I would definitely drink this on nitro, although that’s even harder to imagine finding around here.

Duck-Rabbit Rabid Duck

Type: Russian Imperial Stout
Origin: Farmville, North Carolina
Price: ?
ABV: 10%

I picked this one up back in May when Randy and I hit up a conference in Raleigh. I don’t remember the price, but somewhere around $2 at the Tasty Beverage Company. Upon checking out their website, they make no mention of this beer, and only say they have 4 beers. Definitely in need of an upgrade. Anyways, onto the beer.

I figured I would age this beer a good 4 months or so since most Russian Imperial Stouts tend to be a bit rough around the edges and need a little time to mellow down. I don’t know how much older it is since no one notched the date strip on the label. Nonetheless, this one is still quite fresh and packs quite a whollop. Every characteristic of a RIS is there: coffee, chocolate and a hell of a lot of booze. The roast is a bit more in the Starbucks end, slightly burnt and quite bitter. The best beers in this category seem to be able to hide the booze so that you just take in the pure opulent flavors, and this one is quite obviously not in that category. Still tasty, just not world class.

Modern Times Blazing World

type: hoppy amber ale
origin: San Diego, CA
price: $10/4-pack 16oz
ABV: 6.8%
NSP: 12.9

Modern Times hasn’t been around for too long, but they’re certainly off to an impressive start.  They’ve just begun releasing their products in cans (a perfect 16oz size) and their tasting room is poised to be a great place to drink at.  

You may have noticed the general lack of respect for amber ale around these parts, but that’s only because none of them taste this delicious.  It toes the line closer to a red IPA, but it is most definitely not one, even with the ABV, IBU, and wonderfully hoppy aromas to back it up.  The base has plenty of flavor and complexity,  the body is absolutely perfect, and it’s a bit on the dry side; this means that once you’re through with a can you think, “well shit, how about another?!”  And my jeebus is it pretty to look at: A rich amber with a nice cream/tan colored head.  This is dangerous stuff right here, so try not to finish the whole 4-pack before dinner.  It’s safe to say this is easily my favorite hoppy amber ale.

I like the idea of useful information on the can, and these guys apparently do too.  After seeing Dave Chappelle recently, I would like to say that while I agree that this is ‘the stickiest of the icky’, please do not shout it out during his standup: he hates that, and so did I.