Archive for December, 2011

The Bruery Oude Tart

Saturday, December 31st, 2011
the bruery oude tart

The Bruery Oude Tart

New Years Eve. The year is over. It is necessary to celebrate with an American craft beer that would send the year off with a bang.

Oude Tart by The Bruery, from what I understand, is a one-time release that could only be picked up a the brewery. Does it come out annually? I believe it is aged some eighteen months.

The funk of the beer seemed to arise from some type of Brett inoculation as there are barnyard and earthy aromas and flavors. Cherry dark fruit adds complexity while there is tart rather than sour tones.

Quite a nice drinking beer, mildly dry, that kept the senses wanting. Nicely done. Enjoy!

Aroma: 9 (25%), Taste: 8 (25%), Look: 10 (15%), Drinkability: 9 (35%), Overall: 8.9

Useless Fact: A ‘jiffy’ is a unit of time for 1/100th of a second.

Goose Island Beer Company Christmas Ale

Thursday, December 29th, 2011
goose island beer co. christmas ale

Goose Island Christmas Ale

No matter how much I try to get into the Christmas spirit I never really go much for seasonal American craft beer. Christmas Ale by Goose Island Beer Company doesn’t really fall into that category as it is an American Brown Ale but any beer with “Christmas” in the title brings those notions to my head.

Christmas Ale should definitely be left out for a bit before drinking as straight from refrigeration isn’t a good idea: bitter dark malt and grotesquely bitter overall. After a bit of warming the beer settles done and drinks quite well.

My orginal rating, almost two years ago, probably should be updated as Christmas Ale is better than an average beer. I would say it is in the lower eight range.

Tonight is the last Thursday night get together for Rich, Chuck, Steve, and myself. I hope all is up for a few good beers before the New Year. Enjoy!

Aroma: 7 (25%), Taste: 7 (25%), Look: 7 (15%), Drinkability: 7 (35%), Overall: 7.0

Useless Fact: Camels have three eyelids to protect themselves from blowing sand.

Site Updated: Rating Trends Added

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

two beer dudes trending ratings

Do you ever wonder how fellow American craft beer aficionados are rating a beer recently? We all know that beers change from batch to batch and over time, if they are cellared. A beer may have a really good score overall or even a bad score overall but the brewer(s) could have changed the recipe, the beer could be past it’s time (if cellared), the batch might have become infected, etc. Any of these reasons create a question in our minds of how the overall score is impacted by more recent reviews.

two beer dudes trending graph

Two Beer Dudes has come up with a new trend rating. The trend rating will be just below the overall and two beer dude ratings. Currently it is set to show the average of the last five ratings on a beer (the most we have on anyone beer). If there are less ratings than the floor number (currently five), it will calculate the ratings for that number of ratings only.

There is a little graph icon at the end of the trend rating text that will pop open a modal window, displaying a bar graph that displays the user name and rating for those last five ratings. Once again, if there are not five ratings for a beer, the graph will display as many ratings that have been submitted at the point in time the page is visited.

Some thoughts for the future:

  • Make the floor 10 or more ratings, but that means more users. Come on, sign up!
  • On active beers, allow for a date picker that would calculate the average rating back to a given point in time. I think this is when the tool really can be powerful.
  • Expand on the bullet point above and allow a date range so that a user could see the average ratings over a specific time in the past.
  • Expand this idea to the ratings of American craft beer establishments.

In spite of the fact that we don’t have a ton of users, we see this as a great tool going forward and fostering growth. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: The word “toady” originally referred to a magician’s assistant who literally ate toads as part of the show. Toads, at one time, were thought to be poisonous; when the “toady” recovered from eating one of them, it was considered an indication of the magician’s great power.

Onion Pub & Brewery Hop Slayer

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

calvin pissed off

I think this is the week of being pissed. I ranted recently about the haul I received form my Secret Santa and today I am going to rant about something else. Hopefully I get this out of my system before the weekend officially starts.

The wife and kids met up with me for dinner at Jak’s Tap in Chicago for dinner. I was there a bit before them as light rain was falling making their travel slow. I ordered a Hop Slayer by Onion Pub & Brewery which is an American IPA. The beer was above average with pine and citrus hops in the aroma but seeming to fade minutes after receiving the tulip. Taste has some back end bitterness but overall fairly clean.

I wanted to check out the Onion’s web site but upon arrival I was requested to give up my email address to see the brewery site. There was no way around it. I even filled it out with bogus information but then had to confirm via an email they sent. The short of it: without giving up my email address I couldn’t see their site. Fuck that! Therefore there are no vitals for the beer or the brewery on Two Beer Dudes to link to from the blog entry.

That sickens me. Do they really believe their site is such an important stop for people that they will eagerly give up their email address so they can be spammed by the Onion? I hope not, but people are stupid. Unless they are sending me gold bar in the mail for allowing me to send their stank, go kindly fuck yourself.

Okay, that is enough. I am also done with the swearing in my entries too. I like to swear when I get pissed. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: Cinderella’s slipper, many scholars believe, was made of fur, not glass. The word verre, or “glass,” they claim, was incorrectly substituted in early versions of the story for the word vaire. In medieval French, vaire means “fur.”

Bell’s Brewery Two Hearted Ale

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

retro christmast party

The annual work Christmas gathering is a good time. Appetizers abound and the so do the drinks. We have it at a local place named Jak’s. They serve up some rockin’ solid food and have an above average American craft beer tap list. There are usually at least 20 American craft beers on tap from all over the Midwest with some from the fringes of the coasts. I would never say their tap lists competes with the “hot spots” for American craft beer but holds it own while catering to trying to convert the macro people.

By the time I left work, there was a server timing issue, I only had an hour at the party before I had to head out to the “local to work” home brew shop. I had to pick up some supplies for the Hefeweizen that I am brewing for a work Holiday party in late January that the wife and I are hosting.

In my brief appearance, Two Hearted Ale by Bell’s Brewery, Inc, caught my eye. I hadn’t had it in a while, which is shameful of me, so I thought that I could have it at the pinnacle of taste and aroma: on tap. Two glasses later I had reconfirmed that Two Hearted is one of the best year round American IPAs that is brewed in the Midwest and can hold it’s own against the entire nation.

Citrus and floral hops jump out of the glass while balancing a sweet caramel malt backbone. Two Hearted is in perfect harmony, easy drinking, and refreshing. It is definitely a year round beer that can even be appreciated by non hop heads. Enjoy!

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

Useless Fact: Rhubarb is named after the Volga River. In Greek the name of Volga is Rha, and barb means “uncultivated.” Rhubarb is thus a wild plant that grows along the Volga.

Utah Brewers Cooperative Squatters Hop Rising

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
utah brewers cooperative squatters hop rising

Squatters Hop Rising

Squatters Hop Rising is an American craft beer brewed up by Utah Brewers Cooperative and is an American Imperial India Pale Ale. I received this beer as part of a Secret Santa BIF on one of the beer sites. When I send my beer, whether for a BIF or straight trade, I make sure that all the beer that needs to be fresh, is fresh. Unfortunately Hop Rising made it apparent that it was not fresh. The hops had fallen out and it was a caramel malt forward beer. The base beer was solid but the aroma and flavor hops were no where to be found.

I feel I really couldn’t give a fair score of Hop Rising, so enough on that topic. Hopefully I will get a fresh bottle some day. Now onto the rant 🙂

I only do a Secret Santa BIF because I have a tendency to go above an beyond and believe there are cheap asses out there that will barely meet the minimum, after all there hearts are made of stone and they think that they are under no obligation. I try to think that people are good and upon entering a SS the best in them will bubble up to the top. This year my thoughts couldn’t be further from the truth.

The person that sent to me was from Texas. Don’t jump to conclusions, I have nothing against people from Texas. The beer I received was mainly locals and most of the locals carry a lower end of a decent beer scores. The person said he was trying to send beer that showed off his state’s brewing prowess. Great, just make sure that fucking beers are good. There are beers from Illinois, the state I live in and proud of, that I would would never send to someone. Show off the best of your state not the mediocre shit you can pick up off the shelves. Besides all of this, he only sent me one beer that was to my favorite style. That just points to laziness, no effort, and I don’t give a shit attitude.

As part of the SS you are also supposed to send glassware, a shirt, and some type of seasonal food. I received one Weiss beer glass, that’s it. No shirt and no food. I posted to him that this wasn’t there and he said this is about the beer and forgot to send the food but nothing about a shirt. I don’t think the food would have fit and he obviously blew off the shirt part of the BIF. I just love that he said it was about the beer, that is true, so where the hell are some beers that show you actually gave some thought and effort?

I am pissed, if you haven’t figured that out yet. I might not participate next year. I really wanted to rip the guy on the message boards but trying to be civil, I did not, so I chose this forum. I even saw another person, that was sent beer from Texas, that received a worse group of beer and goodies than me.

It saddens me that people shit on the SS BIF and will probably end up receiving much, much more beer and higher quality beer than I received and there is nothing I can do about. There really isn’t an avenue that will make the situation better. Now that I have said my peace I will move on but the SS BIF is going to lose one of the people that actually put a ton of effort into making sure the target is happy. Enjoy!

Aroma: 6 (25%), Taste: 6 (25%), Look: 9 (15%), Drinkability: 6 (35%), Overall: 6.5

Useless Fact: Question: What is unusual about the sentence “Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz”? Answer: It is the shortest English sentence yet devised to include all the letters of the alphabet.

Half Acre Beer Company Daisy Cutter

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011
half acre beer company daisy cutter pale ale

Half Acre Daisy Cutter Pale Ale

When looking back at Daisy Cutter by Half Acre Beer Company I was surprised twice by one beer. The first was the fact that I never had this during my 365 American craft beers in 365 day journey. I thought for sure I had that beer. I know I had it, I just thought it bubbled to the top of one specific day during the year. No worries. The second is the fact that it has been almost two years to the day (December 30th, 200) that I wrote my original review of Daisy Cutter. I have had plenty since but it just doesn’t seem that short of a while ago that Half Acre was an up and comer on the Chicago craft beer scene.

Daisy Cutter is definitely my favorite locally brewed American Pale Ale in spite of Three Floyds Brewing Company being in close vicinity. Citrus, grassy, and floral hop aroma are all inviting, keeping your interest throughout.

Daisy Cutter will continue to be a go to American craft beer for me. It is a year round beer so it shouldn’t be hard to pick up. Enjoy!

Aroma: 9 (25%), Taste: 9 (25%), Look: 8 (15%), Drinkability: 8 (35%), Overall: 8.5

Useless Fact: When sailors speak of sheets (as in “four sheets to the wind”) they are not talking about sails. A sheet in nautical terminology is a rope or a chain.

203 Imperial India Pale Ale Takes 2nd

Monday, December 19th, 2011

second place medal

I finally decided to enter one of my home brews into a competition. I am member of two home brew clubs and the one, Headhunters, had an India Pale Ale contest this past Friday. I enjoy reviewing and brewing IPAs; one of my favorite styles. This competition was a chance for me to put my first brewing of an Imperial IPA, 203, up for a chance to get some real feedback.

Since this was a brew club competition each beer was rated by the attendees of the meeting. Not to put anyone down in the brew club but the only person’s opinion that mattered to me was Kevin’s. Why? He is a certified judge that I value his thoughts. He rated 203 a 38. I didn’t think that was to shabby for my first contest with my own recipe.

After the competition was over and because Kevin was sitting next to me, I monopolized his time for 30 minutes to determine what he believes could make the beer better. He shared a few good tips that will go into the beer the next time I brew it.

I am glad I entered the contest, not for the second place overall finish, which is cool, but for the input that I received from Kevin. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: The word “turnpike” originated in the days when toll collectors were armed with pikes, long-handled weapons to prevent travelers who refused to pay the tariff from using their roads.

Live Oak Brewing Company Hefeweizen

Friday, December 16th, 2011

live oak brewing company

I received Hefeweizen bu Live Oak Brewing Company as part of a secret Santa I participated in this year. A growler of Hefeweizen arrived on Wednesday which was perfect timing for sharing with Rich, Steve, and Chuck on our Thursday night get together.

I have heard good things about live oak and specifically the Hefeweizen. No one was disappointed as Live Oak delivered here. Subtle banana, clove, yeast, and wheat all work well together to provide one easy drinking and refreshing beer. Top notch.

After the growler came to a quick end, we continued with a couple bombers of home brew: 203 DIPA and 203 DIPA on oak. I sent each of the guys home with a bottle of each and included one more bottle of Dirty Balls for good measure. The night ended on a very interesting note brought over by Chuck: a four year old bottle of Dreadnaught by Three Floyds Brewing Company. Enjoy!

Aroma: 9 (25%), Taste: 10 (25%), Look: 10 (15%), Drinkability: 9 (35%), Overall: 9.4

Useless Fact: The word “toast,” meaning a proposal of health, originated in Rome, where an actual bit of spiced, burned bread was dropped into wine to improve the drink’s flavor, absorb its sediment, and thus make it more healthful.

Maine Beer Company Lunch

Thursday, December 15th, 2011
maine beer company lunch

Maine Lunch

The freedom of having favorite American craft beers over and over again is sending a tingling sensation down to the very fibers of my being that appreciate beer. It brings back fond memories, sort of like muscle memory for athletes but for American craft beer connoisseurs. The aroma, the flavor, the look, and the feel on the palate are all titillated with old repetitions and snap into shape quite quickly. Of course this is all bull shit but it makes my mouth water for the American craft beer that is on the docket for this evening.

Lunch, brewed by Maine Beer Company, is an American IPA that can confuse you from which coast this beer is brewed. Citrus and pine hops are center stage in all facets of this beer, there is an underlying sweetness that is barely noticeable, creating a ridiculously delicate balance.

I always get his beer from a transaction partner up in Maine. I am delighted each time I receive it and any of the other Maine offers. They do a solid job and you owe it to yourself to try their beer. Enjoy!

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

Useless Fact: A “clue” originally meant a ball of thread. This is why one is said to “unravel” the clues of a mystery.

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