Archive for January, 2012

Half Acre Beer Company Daily Double

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
half acre beer company daily double

Half Acre Daily Double

I feel lucky that Half Acre Beer Company is within an hour of the house. I like American craft brewers that are willing to make and release one offs on a regular basis. I have yet to have one that I haven’t liked. I knew I couldn’t make it on release day and was surprised, after a phone call on Saturday, that they still had plenty left of Daily Double.

My next thought quickly changed to how to convince the wife to drive out the brewery while on a date night. I barely made the suggestion and my wife was all for it. Awesome. Getting good American craft beer is always easier when the wife is 100% all in.

Daily Double is loaded full of Citra hops. The tropical fruit aroma can be had from a few feet away from the glass. Joined by caramel, bread, and wood, the scent is top notch and mildly remind of Zombie Dust. The taste follows and is quite the easy drinker.

If this became a year-round release, I wouldn’t complain one bit. Time to share with my each coast trading buddies. Enjoy!

Aroma: 9 (25%), Taste: 9 (25%), Look: 10 (15%), Drinkability: 8 (35%), Overall: 8.8

Useless Fact: TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.

Kuhnhenn Winter Solstice 2011

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

This blog was written just a couple of days before this past Xmas, on my laptop during the ride back to Chicago from the “D”. But I held it to edit, then the holiday blur took over and here we are, more than a week into 2012 and I’m just now pushing out this blog. And I was so proud that I finally figured out how to justify a trip to the Detroit area for Kuhnhenn Brewery’s beer release event.

 

Kuhhenn’s is about a cool small operation that makes an eclectic group of brews, some of which are highly sought after in the discriminating end of the craft beer geek world. The attraction is partly due to the fact that the Kuhnhenn’s focus is on styles that are the smaller segments of the craft brew world. But as with all highly rated brewers, in the end you’ve got to deliver big quality, and a phenomenal tasting beer, that bears your unique stamp.

 

The attraction of Kuhnhenns Winter Solstice event held every year on top of the actual solstice celestial delineation is the fact that it’s basically the only time one can get their brews in a bottle. It took a few years of trips to SW Michigan to figure out there really weren’t any bottles of Kuhnhenns being put into normal distribution channels. Last year, Big Scot talked his brother-in-law from Royal Oak into hitting the festival and grab some bottles for us. But, with few bottles and so little info on what we had, those beers were more of a novelty and a keepsake, than legit drinkers.

 

Our arrival at Kuhnhenns was approximately 8pm on the 21st. The brewery is located in the old village area of Warren, MI. The building was a mid-century retail hardware store, so the front is all big glass and we could tell on the drive by it was packed. We hit the front door and found a big, jovial crowd but it was not impossible to maneuver around. First move was to the bar and grab a brew and then find the bottle queue. The bar is a rectangle in the center of the room and has service on three sides. It was a mash of activity and slightly confusing trying to figure out what was being served. The big chalkboard was our guide for the first round, didn’t seem to have any of the release brews so we went with the Classic American APA. Then we worked around to the other side of the brew pub to the bottle sales area. Maneuvering through the bar it appeared the attendees were a mix of young and old folks, not an obvious craft breed geek crowd.

Before I recap my purchases I’d say that the purchase process at the event was a new version of distribution. I was provided a checklist of the brews available and the prices per 12-oz bottle. A sequence number was already printed on top (mine was 241) and it was simply a matter recording the quantity of each beer you’d like. I liked the aspect of selecting individual beers by single bottle quantities. Especially, with more than a dozen different selections available for purchase. To save the text of listing them all, I’ve included a photo of the order sheet. Then I handed my order form back and was politely told that it would take about 20 minutes to pull my order. Through an open door, we could see into the large bottling storage room where there were piles of cases of beer and a big group of casual friends drinking and pulling orders. Only 10 minutes passed before my box came out.

So why am I so focused on one small Michigan brewery, out of dozens in this craft brewing crazy state of Michigan? I’ve got old personal ties to this village, but haven’t live there since I was five. But that’s not the reason I love the place, it’s just what first caused me to pay attention the Kuhnhenn family. Their story is a Midwestern tale of the little guys succeeding against the man. Originally, the family bought out the old village hardware store, and then got squeezed by the advent of big box retailing. And, what a worse city to be looking for a career change in, than Detroit at the end of 20th century. But here they are, so many years later having a cool party with what appeared to be a bunch of friends. And selling once a year, bottles of their hugely individualistic brews, which are highly sought after by the upper range in the American craft beer geek circles. All the while, nailing obscure styles like the highly accomplished brewers they are.

I imagine Kuhnhenn’s will always matter in the current state of american craft brewing.

 

Oh, here’s what I purchased:

(3) – 12oz bottles, Dark Heathen-Triple Bock @ $7 per

(4) – 12oz bottles, Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine @ $7 per

(4) – 12oz bottles, Fourth Dementia-BB Barley Wine @ $7 per

(1) 12 oz bottle, Nine-Belgian Strong Dark Ale, $6 per

(1) 12 oz bottle, Extraneous-American Barley Wine, $7 per

(1) 6 oz bottle, Tenacious-Fruit Beer, $13 per (limit one pp)

Total purchase = $128.26 for 13 bottles

Rising Tide Brewing Company Atlantis

Saturday, January 7th, 2012
rising tide brewing company atlantis

Rising Tide Atlantis

My trading partner from Maine, Matt, continues to send me fantastic American craft beers from his nape of the neck. This last shipment included a bevy of Rising Tide Brewing Company options. The first pull of the lot is Atlantis, a Cascadian Dark Ale.

American craft brewing is about letting the artisinal side show through. This beer does with a heaping helping of smoke malt that becomes the dominant malt in the beer. Roast and even chocolate find their way, while strong pine and citrus hops balance. In spite of the peat level, the beer is well balance and quite easy to drink. The peat that I mention, in spite of being dominant, isn’t huge which is a saving grace for the beer. I would definitely have this beer. I hope the hint sinks in.

I don’t know how long the Rising Tide has been around but it doesn’t seem like there are ton of different brews of theirs floating around. I think Matt sent me just about everything. Now I just need him to upload pics onto the site. 😉 Enjoy!

Aroma: 8 (25%), Taste: 7 (25%), Look: 10 (15%), Drinkability: 8 (35%), Overall: 8.1

Useless Fact: Saudi Arabia, which contains one of the largest expanses of desert in the world and through which great camel caravans have traveled for centuries, must import both sand and camels. River sand is sent to Arabia by the ton from Scotland for use in construction; desert sands are not suitable for building purposes. And since camel herds are dwindling in Arabia, camels must be imported from North Africa.

Take one down and pass it around..

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Hello Beer Drinkers!  This is my first time blogging on TwoBeerDudes.com, so I thought that I would introduce myself.  My name is Steve (tikibeer) and I am a…….craft beer drinker.  I was introduced to the craft beer world by Scot a few years ago when he set me up with a six pack of beers from his beer cellar.  I actually remember thinking “weird beers”.  But I tried the first one (Scurvy from Tyranerna) and I started to understand why he was into craft beer!

 I just wanted to thank Scot and Rich for letting me get in on the action here on the site.  I have been reviewing beers on TwoBeerDudes.com for almost a year now.  I started things off with a review of Arctic Panzer Wolf back in February and have been hooked ever since.  I have had an opportunity to have some great beers in that short time, thanks to Scot,Rich, and Chuck sharing some great beers over the last year at our Thursday night beer group. 

 So long for now………Take one down and pass it around..

Hub City Brewing Company Snowbunny Ale

Thursday, January 5th, 2012
hub city brewing company snowbunny ale

Hub City Snowbunny Ale

If you have followed my ramblings over the past few years, you might recall that I have wanted to complete the 50 states of American craft beer. For those out of the loop, simply put it is having at least one rating on Two Beer Dudes from each of the 50 United States. I have slowly chipped away. This is not the post that celebrates me finishing said endeavor. This post is about knocking Iowa off the list. I believe I am down to five give or take a couple. Maybe this should have been one of my New Year’s resolutions.

Snowbunny Ale, a cream ale, by Hub City Brewing Company becomes the cherry popper from Iowa. They say you never forget your first. That is unfortunate in this case. Snowbunny did nothing to remind me of one. The look and aroma started off half-way decent but once I tasted the beer, that was it. I was done. It tasted like a cream soda. Yuck!

One below average beer from Iowa won’t scare me away, I will be back for more. I will have to plan my next American craft beer from the state better. Enjoy!

Aroma: 8 (25%), Taste: 5 (25%), Look: 8 (15%), Drinkability: 5 (35%), Overall: 6.2

Useless Fact: Dartmouth was the only college in New England to remain open during the entire Revolutionary War.

2012 American Craft Beer Resolutions

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

I can’t believe that 2011 is already gone. So many broken resolutions but at least I kept the most important one: 365 American Craft Beers in 365 Days. This endeavor was probably the highlight of my year, especially since I made it.

What did I lose out on? The biggest is my waist line. Bigger than ever and growing. I wanted to lose weight or at least maintain but that eroded rather quickly. I have remade that my number one 2012 goal. I would like to drop 10 pounds the first quarter of the year; trying to make my goal feasible and reasonable. I think if I break the weight loss into smaller segments, smaller goals I will find a way to achieve and thrive. I will not give up my American craft beer but I will cut back on food intake and junk food intake while trying to up the number of salads. I will keep sweets in but not on a daily basis but, hopefully, a weekly basis and under control in portion size. I am too embarrassed to list my weight but I will try to update on the weight loss/gain periodically.

Now onto the good stuff: American craft beer resolutions. I don’t have many and none are complicated.

  • Home brew more. I really enjoy home brewing. I brewed last Monday and Friday. I am ready to brew again, I just need more carboys. The goal here is to get really good with a core group of beers that I can serve all the time. If I was younger and had money, I would probably pursue this as a career path.
  • Visit at least five breweries I haven’t been to. This past year I sort of slacked. If it wasn’t for the summer trip, I don’t think I would have hit any up.
  • Limit my American craft beer budget. American craft beer is getting more and more expensive, especially as the hipsters try to get in, trying to turn a buck. Home brewing will see a bigger piece of my budget so something has to give. This is the obvious choice.

My last resolution: spend more quality time with the family. I hope everyone has a prosperous and healthy 2012. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: North Texas State University gives a degree in “dance-band arts”.

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