Archive for September, 2011

White Birch Brewing Wrigian (365 Day 293)

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

White Birch Wrigian

Sometimes I wonder if my taste buds take a hiatus from delivery the correct sensory impulses. When it comes to tasting American craft beer I really believe I have a decent sense of taste but there are those times that my palate is so far away from “average”.

While reviewing American craft beer 293 of 365, Wrigian by White Birch Brewing, the idea above dawned on me. Maybe it was something I ate that day, the mood I was in, or the fact the Cubs just suck, but I just couldn’t get into this beer. Wrigian has pretty good reviews online so I just notched it up to an off night.

Wrigian has a definite yeast and spice, in the form of pepper, that come through on the nose and mouth. There is a dark fruit presence that is conquered by a wave of sweetness that take the beer over. There is a lingering of pepper and sweet that doesn’t leave, lingering far too long.

I don’t get White Birch beers all that often, so if last night was an off night, that sucks. Enjoy!

Aroma: 8 (25%), Taste: 6 (25%), Look: 9 (15%), Drinkability: 5 (35%), Overall: 6.6

Useless Fact: The famous Boxer Rebellion in China received its name from its association with an ancient Chinese martial art Kung-Fu. During this bloody uprising in northern China in ch’uan (“Harmonious and Righteous Fists”) set out to destroy all foreign influences in China, including schools, churches, and places of commerce and trade. The numbers of this society were well trained in the ancient fighting art of Kung-fu, which, because there was no equivalent word in English to describe it, became known to westerners simply as “boxing.” Hence the uprising was termed the “Boxers’ Rebellion.”

Rock Art Brewery Jasmine Pale Ale (365 Day 292)

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Rock Art Jasmine Pale Ale

Jasmine Pale Ale by Rock Art Brewery comes in to take American craft beer slot number 292. As the name suggests Jasmine Pale Ale has been injected with some jasmine. As soon as I read this on Rock Art’s web site I knew that I had a little bit of research to do on the herb jasmine.

According to multiple sources on the web it has been used in perfumes, essential oils, and flavoring food (the flower). Supposedly bitter and can help with some forms cancer. Maybe I am not a good researcher but I never really found out the aroma and flavor proprieties, which is what I really needed. How was this going to affect the beer I was going to review?

Jasmine Pale Ale has a sweet, bread malt back bone that is supplied with citrus and floral scents to divert the nose and palate. The middle of the beer has a profile that I couldn’t describe. The citrus and floral comes through in the end, almost no bitterness, with the aforementioned indescribable profile lasting on the back of the mouth. A nice offering but the curious middle still has me perplexed. Enjoy!

Aroma: 8 (25%), Taste: 7 (25%), Look: 9 (15%), Drinkability: 7 (35%), Overall: 7.6

Useless Fact: Eskimos have more than twenty words to describe snow.

Four Peaks Brewing Company Sunbru (365 Day 291)

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Four Peaks Sunbru

Making a lighter style of American craft beer can be difficult. Since there isn’t much to the beer, there isn’t much to hide behind. Stouts and porters as well as Indian Pale ales have malts and hops respectively that help hide blemishes. A Kölsch is a light German ale.

Sunbru by Four Peaks Brewing Company is a Kölsch. Wheat, lemon grass, honey, and graininess come through both on the nose and palate. The honey and graininess seem a little out of range for the style while also distracting me. Definitely an easy beer to drink on hot summer days but there are probably others that I would grab first. Enjoy!

Aroma: 6 (25%), Taste: 7 (25%), Look: 9 (15%), Drinkability: 7 (35%), Overall: 7.1

Useless Fact: Stage bows were originally devised as a way for actors to thank the audience. The audience would or would not acknowledge each of the actors in turn, depending on how much they enjoyed the performances.

The Lost Abbey Judgement Day (365 Day 290)

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Lost Abbey Judgement Day

Surprise American craft beer: a beer that delivers past your expectation. This might sound vague but I think it perfectly covers my thoughts on the topic. I keep it vague to cover the prospect of believing a beer to pretty good and exceeding those expectations. This is the category that I would have to place Judgement Day by The Lost Abbey.

Judgement Day is a Belgian Quad that seems to fit the style quite nicely. Raisin and plum are the first to greet the nose and. later, the palate. Yeas, Belgian candy, and alcohol also can be found. In spite of the alcohol presence and ABV of the beer it is smooth going down.

The bottle had less than a year of age on it and leads me to imagine that this should be fairly smooth up front. I don’t know how much ageing would help this beer. Definitely on my revisit list. Enjoy!

Aroma: 9 (25%), Taste: 9 (25%), Look: 9 (15%), Drinkability: 9 (35%), Overall: 9.0

Useless Fact: In 1790 only 5 percent of the American population lived in cities.

The Lost Abbey Angel’s Share – Bourbon Barrel Aged (365 Day 289)

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Lost Abbey Angel's Share

Another Thursday night for Rich and I to share some American craft beer. Not one of our most exciting Thursday evenings but it did end on a hight note: Angel’s Share – Bourbon Barrel Aged by The Lost Abbey.

This was the last of my 2009 stash of the beer. I have enjoyed each and every bottle of Angel’s Share. Two years of ageing has brought out a bunch of brown sugar and molasses to join the oak and bourbon.

As typical, I wish I had a few more bottles to continue to check in on this beer and see how well it ages. Enjoy!

Aroma: 10 (25%), Taste: 10 (25%), Look: 9 (15%), Drinkability: 9 (35%), Overall: 9.5

Useless Fact: The Japanese emperor Hirohito is the 124th holder of his title. The same family has held the throne in Japan since the sixth century A.D. Hirohito has published several books on ichthyology (the study of fish) and is considered an expert on the subject.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company Solace (365 Day 288)

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Firestone Walker Solace

American craft beer brings ideas of big beers using quality ingredients to a lot of people. Quality ingredients are always on the docket but not all and probably most American craft beers are not are big. I rant about this a lot. The biggest mistake that most reviewers make in reviewing a beer is what they want the beer to be or comparing it to some “big” beer they have had in the past.

Because of the American craft beer revolution, styles have been skewed more than ever recently. American Wheat Ale is one of those styles that has taken on many forms and changes recently. Some are traditional with a lot of wheat coming through. Others have spices added. While even more have been over hopped to take on characters of a light IPA. The boldest of the group take from each of the preceding, combining to make a very bold wheat beer. It seems that the most outlandish within the style are the favorites.

Solace by Firestone Walker Brewing Company is a light cross bread that has plenty of wheat with touches of fruits/spice. Green apple or grapes are the first while banana comes later in the aroma. This is a light bodies beer that delivers a highly drinkable beer. Enjoy!

Aroma: 8 (25%), Taste: 8 (25%), Look: 8 (15%), Drinkability: 9 (35%), Overall: 8.4

Useless Fact: Equestrain statues: traditionally when all four of the horse’s hooves are on the ground, it signifies that the rider died a natural death. One hoof in the air indicates that he died of wounds sustained in action. If two are raised, it means that the rider was killed on the field of battle.

Pelican Pub & Brewery Tsunami Stout (365 Day 287)

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Pelican Tsunami Stout

You ever kick yourself for passing up on an American craft beer? I have many times. Back several years ago, one of the local liquor store had a bunch of Pelican Pub & Brewery beers. I passed on them as I thought that Pelican was a normal beer to have in the area; I was more interested in other beers at the store, constantly passing. Of course after all the Pelican had been sold, I decided it was time to get interested in their beers. Too late.

Tsunami Stout was one of those American craft beers that I remember seeing on those shelves that I quickly and easily bypassed. A transaction landed one for me recently. It turned out to be lucky number 287.

Tons of malt flavor and aromas: roast, chocolate, coffee, peat, and more all are intertwined playing a fine tune. I felt the beer was a bit thin with too much carbonation which dropped the drinkability a bit. Definitely worth a look see if you have the chance. Enjoy!

Aroma: 10 (25%), Taste: 10 (25%), Look: 9 (15%), Drinkability: 8 (35%), Overall: 9.2

Useless Fact: Midgets and dwarfs almost always have normal-sized children, even if both parents are midgets or dwarfs.

Bear Republic Brewing Company Racer 5 IPA (365 Day 286)

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA

I can’t get enough American craft beer, that should be obvious. American IPAs are probably my favorite style, once again a layup. My favorite style within the style is the west coast ipas. They have a much more forward hop profile that is usually centered around citrus and pine hops along with some newer strands that bring out tropical, grapefruit, and floral.

Racer 5 IPA by Bear Republic Brewing Company is the glass slipper that fits the foot perfectly. Racer 5 pours with a huge, frothy head as most big IPAs do which ends up leaving a lot of lacing in the glass. The aroma and taste are built on a caramel malt backbone that is gracefully pushed upon by floral, pine, and citrus hops: the trifecta of hops. Bitterness hits the back of the mouth, lingering.

Quite a solid offering that scratches the west coast IPA itch nicely. Enjoy!

Aroma: 10 (25%), Taste: 9 (25%), Look: 9 (15%), Drinkability: 9 (35%), Overall: 9.3

Useless Fact: Karl Marx once served as a reporter on the new York Herald Tribune (the paper was then known as the New York Tribune). In 1848 he worked in the London office of the Tribune, and his boss, the managing editor, was Richard Henry Dana, who himself became a world-famous as author of Two years Before Mast.

Lake Louie Brewing Louie’s Reserve Scotch Ale (365 Day 285)

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Lake Louie Louie's Reserve Scotch Ale

Louie’s Reserve Scotch Ale by Lake Louie Brewing is another beer that Rich shared from his recent visit to Wisconsin. The American craft beer hobby is easier to appreciate when friends share in the appreciation and, of course, the beer.

Louie’s Reserve is a past friend. The beer is a seasonal release that doesn’t seem to have a long shelf life in terms of how long it stays on the shelves. The malt is the centerfold of the beer as nuttiness, molasses, dark fruits, caramel, and a touch of roasted malt play their part in creating a great drinking Scottish Heavy Ale. Enjoy!

Aroma: 8 (25%), Taste: 8 (25%), Look: 8 (15%), Drinkability: 8 (35%), Overall: 8.0

Useless Fact: In 1976 President Gerald R. Ford sent out 40,000 Christmas cards.

Rush River Brewing Company Double Bubble (365 Day 284)

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Rush River Double Bubble

I have a hard time of pairing American craft beer together. Maybe that isn’t clear: when I have multiple beers, I don’t always know which order to review them so that I can appreciate each beer distinctly, allowing for its’ character to come through.

This past Thursday, Rich and I had a couple of big DIPAs, including Citra Double IPA, before settling on a bottle of Double Bubble by Rush River Brewing Company for our third offering. We were both underwhelmed in spite of recommendation by the beer guy at the beer store he purchased it from in Wisconsin. We both rated in the low average range (7.0 overall).

So what does as this have to do with beer number 284?

I revisited Double Bubble. I was wondering what this beer would be like on its own, especially to make the beer guy recommend. Much better, the flavors and aromas come through to distinguish the beer as a solid offering. One that I would recommend myself. This is a lighter DIPA in terms of west coast appeal. If you are looking for a nice DIPA that won’t crush your palate and is very drinkable, Double Bubble should be on your list. Enjoy!

Aroma: 7 (25%), Taste: 8 (25%), Look: 9 (15%), Drinkability: 8 (35%), Overall: 7.9

Useless Fact: The average housewife walks 10 miles a day around the house doing chores. She walks 4 miles and spends 25 hours a year making beds.

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