Archive for May, 2011

AleSmith Brewing Company Wee Heavy (365 Day 171)

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

AleSmith Wee Heavy

A good start to any weekend begins with a quality American craft beer or three. In the case of last evening, Rich and I found ourselves partaking in a total of six. The laughter at the movie “Dumb & Dumber” seemed to elevate the last 30 minutes or so of the movie. Good times.

The group of beers were all solid but I wasn’t sure Rich would make it over or not based on his schedule, my mind was made up that Wee Heavy by AleSmith Brewing Company was going to be my beer of the evening.

I have had Wee Heavy before some 18 months ago, knew I liked, and had to try it again. The second go around gave me a lot more insight to the beer and appreciation for the beer. It is a top notch beer that definitely scratch my wee heavy itch. Enjoy!

Aroma: 8, Taste: 8, Look: 8, Drinkability: 8, Overall: 8.0

Useless Fact: Dairy products account for 29 percent of all food consumed in the United States.

Arcadia Brewing Company Cereal Killer (365 Day 170)

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Arcadia Cereal Killer

Barleywine. I don’t think the average macro beer drinker even has an idea of what that means. To beer geeks it brings thoughts of liquid goodness infused with dark fruits, hops, possible bitterness, sweetness to some degree, and plenty of unadulterated high alcohol. Those wonderful thoughts also tend to lead said geek into a frenzy as big beers are high on everyone’s want list. I think there are some that even believe a big beer is automatically good but that is a conversation for another day.

Cereal Killer, by Arcadia Brewing Company, is an English Barleywine. An English barleywine differs from an American mainly in the fact that it isn’t as aggressively hopped and uses more traditional hops to boot. I actually prefer the English version to the American as I don’t find them quite as alcoholic while having just a bit more sweetness, maybe masking said alcohol. I also usually cellar my barleywines, so the huge hop additions from the American versions drop out, leaving behind a sometimes huge, resinous bitterness that is left unchecked.

Cereal Killer is a solid barleywine that I have had multiple times. The alcohol is well hidden and it has a nice balance without having much sweetness or stickiness to the beer. Enjoy!

Aroma: 8, Taste: 8, Look: 8, Drinkability: 8, Overall: 8.0

Useless Fact: The Colosseum of ancient Rome was occasionally filled with water and an entire naval battle was staged there, complete with armed vessels and fights to the death.

Free State Brewing Company Ad Astra Ale (365 Day 169)

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Free State Ad Astra Ale

American craft beer from each sate in the United States doesn’t sound like that difficult of a task. Since I am trying to accomplish this I can attest to the fact that it might not be as easy as it sounds. Unless you travel a lot and too many different states, how do you get the beers? There are states like Mississippi, that at last look at least, only had on brewery producing beer in the entire state. Even if a state has multiple breweries or brew pubs, what if they are small and don’t bottle/can? And, going for the last, what if there isn’t really “good” beer produced in the state? All this has gone through my mind and has made my mission a bit more difficult. Finding people to do a transaction with and finding good beer that I actually might want to try is proving a bit daunting for some “smaller” beer states.

Free State Brewing Company reigns from Kansas. It is the only brewery that I have had beer from in the state and Ad Astra Ale marks the second flavor of beer I have had (Old Backus Barleywine was the other shared by a friend).

Ad Astra Ale comes across with a could bready/biscuit backbone that is a bit sweet and sticky on the lips. There is a nice clean, crisp hop profile that adds a bit of spice to the finish. Definitely easy to drink and a beer that would go well with a hot, humid day. Enjoy!

Aroma: 7, Taste: 8, Look: 9, Drinkability: 9, Overall: 8.3

Useless Fact: George Parker Bidder, builder of London’s Victoria docks in the nineteenth century, could figure problems like “How many times does 15,228 go into the cute of a 36” in four seconds. Bidder’s brother memorized the entire Bible and could remember every date he ever read. George Bidder’s eldest son, George Bidder Jr., was able to multiply a fifteen-digit number by another fifteen-digit number mentally in less than a minute.

Russian River Brewing Company Supplication (365 Day 168)

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Russian River Supplication

Every time I have a beer from Russian River Brewing Company I comment on how wonderful each an every beer seems to be. You might be tired of this now, especially if you cannot get their beers or haven’t had them. I don’t live anywhere near the brewery and usually get my fix from my cousin who lives out in California.

It could quite possibly be the fact that the difficulty at which I go through to get their beers makes them taste better but, based on what other reviews I see on the web, Russian River just makes damn good beer.

Supplication donned my glass the third time overall. Each time I have this beer I wonder at how well balanced. The sour is there but let’s all the other flavors come through and doesn’t make me clench my fists with each sip. Last night I actually marveled at how easy it went down with the sour seeming to draw me in each time.

I haven’t had a ton of sours but Supplication could easy be my favorite. Balance, drinkability, and overall enjoyment all aid in this opinion. Enjoy!

Aroma: 10, Taste: 10, Look: 9, Drinkability: 9, Overall: 9.5

Useless Fact: There is 1 mile of railroad track in Belgium for every 1 and a half square miles of land.

Oskar Blues Grill & Brew Old Chub (365 Day 167)

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Oskar Blues Old Chub

It is hard to show images for the American craft beers I am reviewing when you computer decides to take a crap. That’s exactly what happened this weekend to me or should I say to my computer. The computer housed all my photos of the beers that I take. Fortunately it was only case fans, power supple, and processor fan that went out. When I removed the hard drive and used a kit I have to hook up a hard drive externally, it worked. The only bad thing: the power supply I purchased doesn’t have enough SATA power whips to power everything I have in the computer, so I will have images again when I go and buy a converter.

Enough computer geek talk. Time for beer geek talk.

Beer number 167 was Old Chub by Oskar Blues Grill & Brew. Old Chub is a Scottish wee heavy that probably sat in my basement way too long as there wasn’t much carbonation or hop profile to the beer. I know wee heavies usually don’t have the hops but from what I read, it seems that others found that in the beer.

In spite of the age, Old Chub, is a nice wee heavy that isn’t overly sweet. A dank earthiness is in there along with vanilla and some slight smoke/peat. I don’t think the lack of carbonation hurt the beer but I am sure it would have seemed bigger in the mouth. Now I have to get one these fresh. Enjoy!

Aroma: 7, Taste: 9, Look: 9, Drinkability: 8, Overall: 8.2

Useless Fact: The world’s largest Gothic cathedral is in New York City. It is the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Amsterdam Avenue and 112th Street. The cathedral measures 601 feet long, 146 feet wide, and has a transept measuring 320 feet from end to end.

Russian River Brewing Company Sanctification (365 Day 166)

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Russian River Sanctification

If you are anything like me than you look forward to just about any American craft beer that comes out of Russian River Brewing Company. Of course the Midwest doesn’t see these beers by way of normal distribution possibly altering our mindset into appreciating these beers much more than they should but I think it is general consensus among beer geeks that Russian River makes some quality brews.

This time around Sanctification was the flavor of the day. Sanctification is bottled aged with brett to give it a tart flavor and aroma. The tartness isn’t as over the top as expected based on what I read on the bottle. Instead it was a subtle complexity that added perfectly to the beer.

Cheers to one day having Russian River beers more easily accessible. Until then, my cousin Russ will continue to be on speed dial. Enjoy!

Aroma: 8, Taste: 10, Look: 9, Drinkability: 10, Overall: 9.4

Useless Fact: The world consumes more than 1 billion gallon of petroleum a day.

Finch’s Beer Company Cut Throat Pale Ale (365 Day 165)

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Finch's Beer Company

Rich worked on getting us invitations to a party at Finch’s Beer Company on their opening night in which 100 people were extended the welcome mat. The festivities were from 7:00pm until 10:00pm. The brewery was open to those who were on the guest list. Rich and I were appreciative.

We arrived a bit past 7:00pm as the car ride in had bad weather slowing down traffic. Once there, we had to show that we were on the guest list by giving our names and move on immediately. There were three stations set up with six ounce pours of either of their two current beers: Golden Wing, a blonde ale, and Cut Throat, an American pale ale. There was also an area to get finger foods that were catered: good stuff. The brewery itself was open to all to rummage around, take pictures, and take in the vibe.

I have to say that both are quality offerings. Cut Throat really caught my taste buds though. I was driving so, I kept the six ounce beers down, but did have a couple of the Cut Throat. The aroma was quite hoppy while the taste was only mildly bitter. Definitely an easy drinking pale ale that will do wonders to your thirst as the hot, humid month approach.

I am glad that another brewery has officially opened its doors here in Chicago, too big of city for how little the market was a few years ago. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: Rubber is one of the ingredients of bubble gum. It is the substance that allows the chewer to blow a bubble.

Half Acre Beer Company Ambrosia (365 Day 164)

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

Half Acre Ambrosia

Half Acre Beer Company continue to produce a bunch of one-offs out of their Chicago based brewery. I have no idea what the production numbers are but I do know you cannot get them outside of Chicago, they don’t even make them to the suburbs.

Ambrosia is another one of those small release beers. it is an American wheat ale that seems perfect for the warm weather that hit Chicago in the middle of the week. Floral hops, wheat, and sweet malts show throughout the taste and nose.

Another solid offering from Half Acre. I wish that I had more of a chance to head over there to try some of their releases that don’t’ make it into bottle form. Enjoy!

Aroma: 7, Taste: 8, Look: 9, Drinkability: 8, Overall: 7.9

Useless Fact: A person who is lost in the woods and starving can obtain nourishment by chewing on his shoes. Leather has enough nutritional value to sustain life for a short time.

Sonoran Brewing Company White Chocolate Ale (365 Day 163)

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Sonoran White Chocolate Ale

Excited. That’s how I would describe my thoughts when I settled on White Chocolate Ale by Sonoran Brewing Company. There are several reasons why that was my general state of feeling:

  • This beer comes via my cousin who lives in Arizona. But she is not a beer drinker, American craft beer affectianado, or anything similar, she just heard that I was into American craft beer via my parents and other cousin. So recently I was over at my parents and they handed me a couple of beers that she had wanted me to have. Thanks Diane!
  • Shortly after receiving the gift, I thought this was going to be my first beer from Arizona, which would help me along in another quest: having an American craft beer from each state in the Union.
  • I love free beer 😉

I popped the cap and poured. White Chocolate, with a small, yielded a huge amount of white foam; probably in the neighborhood of an ounce to a full pint glass of foam. Immediately I thought infection. I did get some sweet wheat and chocolate aromas but there was what I perceived to be some type of tart element to the scent. I definitely thought infection. Each subsequent pour brought on more of the same. The taste actually made me believe otherwise but it wasn’t a taste that I was keen on.

Overall, sadly, White Chocolate Ale was a long way from making me satisfied. I don’t like to guess if a beer is infected or not. That’s rubbish. Enjoy!

Aroma: 5, Taste: 6, Look: 7, Drinkability: 4, Overall: 5.2

Useless Fact: The base of the Great Pyramid in Egypt is large enough to cover ten football fields. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, it took 400,000 men twenty years to construct this great monument.

New Glarus Brewing Company Unplugged Abt (365 Day 162)

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

New Glarus Unplugged Abt

As I started rereading what I wrote about beer 161, New Glarus Brewing Company Fat Squirrel, I quickly did a search on Sips to see what beers I have had from New Glarus since the start of 365 American craft beers in 365 days. I have checked out quite a few beers (around 10 I would say) by New Glarus but that, for some reason, only made my thirst for another New Glarus beer even greater.

I expeditiously made a mental note of what I had in cellar versus what I had written about. Jackpot. There were a few beers that percolated to the top. I knew I had a winner in Unplugged Abt. If memory serves me, this was the third Unplugged beer last year with a release time starting in August.

Abt is a Belgian Quad that has aged fairly well. I know that isn’t an overwhelming endorsement of the beer but I don’t think it was quite the same beer I had some nine months or so ago. At times it seemed to be a bit malty but more like a brown ale as I thought I could pick up nutty flavors. I don’t know if I would rate it as highly as I did the first time.

I have a few more so I will be giving another chance. Hopefully it was just an off night for the taste buds. Enjoy!

Aroma: 8, Taste: 9, Look: 9, Drinkability: 9, Overall: 8.8

Useless Fact: Roughly 40 percent of the population of the underdeveloped world is under fifteen years old.

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