Archive for the ‘Lounge’ Category

Local Take on the New Craze

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

So the big thing these days in beer seems to be the Northeast Style IPA. Make it so hoppy your head implodes, make it so hazy you couldn’t see through it with a klieg light, and make it so juicy you won’t have to eat citrus for a month. And the trend has hit Chicago area breweries since the summer. There are too many to name, and although I wish I could try all of them (and I have tried some), this entry will just focus on two I recently brought to a Thursday Night Beer Club.

hailstrom brewing nimbus

BEER ONE: NIMBUS by Hailstorm Brewing out of Tinley Park, canned 9/28/16.

Color was a very cloudy dirty straw/gold. It reminded me of a glass of dark orange juice. The smell was mildly hoppy with slight floral notes. Taste was a slight tang of mildly bitter hops with a slight citrusy backing. Feel was dry, not a big mouth filling beer.
Appearance 4.25
Smell 4
Taste 4.5
Feel 4.25
Overall 4.25
TOTAL 4.29

NOTE ONE: I had this again on tap last week at Sovereign in downtown Plainfield, and I wouldn’t change any of the above notes or ratings.
NOTE TWO: Hailstorm did three of these New England styles (last I checked). I don’t think I have had STRATUS, but I have had CUMULUS and I would highly recommend that one more than Nimbus.

Ram Restaurant and Brewery Juicy

BEER TWO: JUICY by Ram Restaurant and Brewery out of Schaumburg, bought on release date 10/1/16, so canned earlier that week.

It was a much lighter color but also cloudier than the Nimbus. I remember when I had this the first time-it was from a bottle shared with me, and my comment was that it might have been the coolest looking double IPA from the Midwest that I had ever seen (even over every Pipeworks “Fish Series” that I’ve tried). The thing that struck me the most about the appearance was how it had a mass of the smallest bubbles I think I had ever seen in a beer (the canned batch, this wasn’t as present). This had a very healthy thick lacing as well. As for smell and taste, this one has a much stronger hop presence than Nimbus, and the citrus (mostly lemon notes) comes through a lot more, with practically no bitterness. It’s also a thicker, heavier, and creamier beer, but also amazingly smooth. They ran through this quickly at the last release (like most of the special beers they do), so I imagine it’s only going to be just as hard if not harder to get the next time they brew it.

Appearance 5
Smell 4.5
Taste 4.5
Feel 4.75
Overall 4.75
TOTAL 4.61

NOTE: The above numbers were from the first time I had this from a bottle. However, most of the notes were from the recent tasting from can, and I would not change the rating at all. On tap, can, or bottle – TRY THIS BEER!!!

Cubs Win 2016 World Series!

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016
108 years has been too long of a wait.

108 years has been too long of a wait.

Being a Cub fan my entire life, I never thought this day would come. I thought the curse was real, allowing the team to only smell victory without ever having a chance to taste.

The Cubs, since 1984, have had more chances at the playoffs than they did between 1945, the last time they were in the World Series (my dad was 9) and 1984. The Cubs had been gaining momentum since ’84.

What a wild ride. Emotions were all over the place and Maddon’s decisions to pull pitchers pissed me off. Especially Hendricks and Lester.

I think of all my family and friends that never made it to this day, especially my Uncle Ray, a die hard Cub’s fan. This is for him. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: The cruise liner, Queen Elizabeth II, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that it burns.

New Glarus Brewing Company Visit

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

A visit to New Glarus Brewing Company is always a welcome event. Before the kids got active, we made multiple 2+ hour trips to the brewery each year. Typically our weekends are abuzz with trips to the gym, soccer field and/or basketball tournament.

This past Sunday was special: it was my birthday.

The wife asked me multiple times what I wanted to do for my birthday. I gave little input. Finally she mentioned New Glarus but only because she really wanted to go and has been talking about it for a month ago. She is a Spotted Cow super fan.

In the four or more since we have visited New Glarus, the drive hasn’t changed but the brewery has. It is bigger, with multiple additions: one on the west side, one on the south-west and possibly more. One of which is near the bottling/kegging area that includes the ability to can their beers. Probably the biggest change: the common area on the north-east side of the brewery. Now there is more and nicer seating, there are trails in the woods, there are a bunch of partially built structures surrounding the area that look more like bombed out Germany during World War II. Tons of new and interesting sites and places for the kids to play. There was live entertainment, see video above. Sausage on wheels was served from a food chuck. The man serving food had a mustache worthy of 20th century Germany.

They still only have four beers on tap for tasting. The price for the tasting has increased while the serving size has not. My only complaint of the day.

The brewery was crowded with people and dogs but the improved family feel made us feel welcome for a lazy October afternoon. We will be back again, just hopefully not for so long. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: If you go blind in one eye you only lose about one fifth of your vision but all your sense of depth.

Three Floyds Dark Lord Vertical – 7 years

Saturday, October 1st, 2016
Dark Lord lineup for the vertical: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.  Yes, that is my wife in the background with a Dark Lord shirt on.

Dark Lord lineup for the vertical: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Yes, that is my wife in the background with a Dark Lord shirt on.

2010 was my first Dark Lord Day. It was an unbelievable experience. Mayhem ruled the day. Pushing, shoving, and trickery were all on hand to help an individual get beers. In that day gone by, one person could use two tickets and each ticket warranted eight bottles of Dark Lord at $15 each; as long as there was enough beer in the first-come, first-serve process. I remember people showing up without tickets in case there was still Dark Lord left after a certain time as it was opened up to walk ups. I ended up with 16 bottles of green waxed Dark Lord, trading many of those bottles away for beers long forgotten.

Fast forward to 2016. The event is bigger: more bands, more people, short release barrel variants, and more drunks, but, the chaos and my love for the event (I didn’t bitch about 2016, I was too tired) has faded.

Needless to say, I haven’t traded nor drank many of the Dark Lords in the last 2 to 3 years. But, I have wanted to do a vertical with the Thursday Night Beer Club (TNBC) for quite some time. The biggest challenge was getting the guys together, with the beer and designated drivers for everyone. No sleeping at my house.

Participant 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Rich 6 7 2 3 1 5 4
Steve 5 7 6 2 1 3 4
Pat 6 4 3 1 2 5 7
Miles 6 5 3 1 2 4 7
Drew 4 7 6 1 2 3 5
Andy 7 5 2 1 4 3 6
Scot 6 4 2 1 3 5 7
John 7 4 3 1 2 6 5
Totals 47 (7) 43 (5) 27 (3) 11 (1) 17 (2) 34 (4) 45 (6)
Average 5.873 5.375 3.375 1.375 2.125 4.250 5.625

I came up with the idea of a midday get together, on a Saturday, with food shared by everyone, including the wife, mistresses and kids. We also needed to get at least seven guys. Chuck and Matt, TNBC guys, couldn’t make it, that means we needed three other participants besides Rich, Steve, Pat and myself. Ask thy friends and neighbors. We landed Miles, Drew and Andy. John, Rich’s middle son, decided to join us as well. The main course was brawts from the local meat market. The appetizers, side dishes and desserts were supplied by everyone that attended.

three floyd dark lord 2 ounce vertical pours

Pat brought along some two ounce plastic cups that I will dub the brightest idea of the evening. It made the seven pours easy, no over pours. It made clean-up a cinch, throw them out. And, it made tastings for others and other beers flow smoothly, no need to clean glasses.

Each person started with their seven pours, one for each year, deciding on the best way that suited them to taste the vertical. Most either started at ’10 and went up or started at ’16 and went down. I chose the latter.

Tasting in such a manner gave me the ability to see how the beer has developed as it has aged. It also allowed me to see how the sweetness really mellows. Dark fruits develop by the middle years, first raisins then changing over to prunes. Coffee was most prevalent in the 2015 bottle, while disappearing in the 2014 and later.

Based on the ratings, see table above, I would say to not drink Dark Lord young, giving it at least two years. I would also say to not go past five years of aging too: the sweet spot, for the group, was by far, the 2012 – 2014 versions. With 2013 and 2014 way out ahead as the favorites. My word of advice: don’t trade away the cellar or, if you are into purchasing, don’t waste large sums of cash on really old (6+ years) Dark Lord.

By the end of the evening, the process of killing a bottle got applause for whomever bit the bullet, with the lowest rated bottles drawing the biggest praises.

Overall, the company, catching up with old friends, and the typical guy banter was more enjoyable than the Dark Lord. I would do it again, especially if the entire TNBC crew could be there. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: A nepheligenous is someone filling a room with tobacco smoke.

A Barrel Odyssey

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

So I decided a few weeks ago to try to drink as many barrel aged beers that I had in my collection as I could. I think I got about nine days in a row drinking at least one before I punked out, but I had another two a few days after that, and the last one was drank today.

I enjoy quite a number of barrel aged beers for many of the same reasons most of us do: the barrel imparts interesting flavors to some of our favorite base beers, they have higher ABVs than a lot of other beers, and there’s the feeling that you’re drinking something special, especially if it’s a beer that only comes out once a year and thus has more of a collector’s appeal.

However, I worry that a lot of these barrel aged beers are just a gimmick, and they’re really not contributing anything to the beer world. But that’s a topic that can be debated at another time.

Anyways, here’s my thoughts on the ones I have drunk recently, in order of consumption, with the brewer’s description in quotes.

1) VLAD THE CONQUISTADOR (Hailstorm Brewing) – “bourbon barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout brewed with chiles, cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla, and agave”. I drank the 2015 version because I heard the 2016 version was coming out. I still have a tequila barrel aged version that I’m going to let sit another month or so. I found this one really well balanced – all the flavors came out, but nothing overpowered anything else, and the barrel presence helped add yet another layer to it. My fear with beers with peppers of any kind is that they’re going to be too spicy, but letting this one sit for almost nine months helped calm any heat down. It wasn’t oily like some stouts, and it was a very easier drinker with a cigar by the fire pit. I look forward to this year’s version.
OVERALL RATING (out of 5): 4.5

2) BLUEGRASS BILLIONARE (Clown Shoes) – “English Style Barleywine Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels”. Another one by the fire pit with a cigar (it was one of those weekends). It had the malty characteristics I’ve come to expect from a good barleywine, but the barrel asserted itself quite well. It was extremely smooth but there was a subtle alcohol burn that hid itself on the back end. I’ll probably grab another one next year, unless I happen to come across one more this year, which I would age just to see what happens. OVERALL RATING: 4.37

3) STICKEE MONKEE (Firestone Walker Brewing) – “Barrel Aged Central Coast Quad”. I shared the 2016 vintage with my sister in law’s boyfriend as a house warming drink for our first visit to their new apartment (glad I did – he shared his bottle of Last Snow from Funky Buddha with me in return). I liked this one a LOT. I’m lucky enough that my favorite beer store owner gets Firestone’s barrel aged stuff, and he always puts one of each on the side for me. I enjoy quads, and in fact one of the first beers that really excited me about craft was Boulevard’s Barrel Aged Quad, so I was looking forward to this one. It was dark brown with some sediment, strong barrel and molasses scents and flavor, accompanied by some mild boozy tanginess.  This was the first time I had this one, and I look forward to trying this again next year.                                                   OVERALL RATING: 4.59

4) FARMER’S RESERVE CITRUS (Almanac Beer Co.) – “Ale brewed with citrons and oranges and aged in wine barrels”. I had this for the first time last year and reviewed it then. As a wild ale, it had the right amount of funk, and it more than lived up to the “citrus” in the title. It was tangy and fruity with a strong zesty aftertaste. I’m not quite sure what the wine barrels added, but the overall feeling I have about this beer was summed up in one word: FUN. I’ll probably buy a bottle of this every time I see it, especially if it’s summer, as it’s a great sipper on a warm day.  Note: I actually drank it this time from a champagne flute, and I think that helped bring out a lot of the scents and flavors.   OVERALL RATING: 4.31

5) JACKIE O’S BOURBON BARREL DARK APPARITION (Jackie O’s) – “Stout brewed with brown sugar & aged in bourbon barrels”. This was the second time I tried it, and two notes regarding that –  a) Mr Webmaster Scot shared one with me the first time I had it, and as much as I loved it then, I loved it even more this time, and      b) the aforementioned sister in law’s boyfriend got this one in a trade and just gave me the bottle straight up when I mentioned how much I loved it. This is why I always try to share good stuff with him when he comes over here.                                                                 Anyway, the only thing I changed on my first rating with the second bottle was bumping up rating on the smell. It’s one of the best looking stouts I’ve ever had-mild lacing is always present, there’s healthy activity on each drink, and you can see particulates hanging out even with the extreme darkness. It’s sweet and malty smelling, but the barrel is hiding just below that. It’s a perfectly tasting beer – all the qualities of a great stout are there, and then that barrel comes in and punches it up just a notch to the point that it fills the mouth with vibrancy. The only complaint I have about it is the slight oily feel. I’ll drink this thing any chance I get, especially since Jackie O’s isn’t distributed in our area.                                                                         OVERALL RATING: 4.71

6) JAMES BEAN (Allagash Brewing Company) – “ale aged in bourbon barrels with cold brewed coffee”. I shared this one with the sister in law’s boyfriend when he came over (told you), and I’m glad I did, as I don’t think I could have handled the entire 750 ml bottle myself. It was what you’d want from a tripel (which is what it actually is categorized as), but there was too much coffee presence on it for me to think it was really good.                                                     OVERALL RATING: 4.24

7) BLACK BUTTE XVII (Deschutes Brewery) – “27th Birthday Reserve Ale brewed with rose water with 50% aged in bourbon barrels blended with apricot puree, cocoa nibs, and pomegranate molasses”. That’s a mouthful, and so is this beer. I had it when it came out last year, and I gave it a 4.3 rating. It came across as thin then, but aging one a year helped give it more body. It smelled a lot better this year – more sweetness and barrel were present. It had a roasty and sweet taste with a boozy buzz from the barrel on the back end. I get the cocoa and molasses, but I couldn’t tell you how much of the fruitiness I tasted was from apricot or pomegranate, since I really don’t know either of them. Only complaint I had was the slightly oily feel.                                                                     OVERALL RATING: 4.46

8) RODENBACH GRAND CRU (Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.) – “Ale aged in oak foeders – approx. 1/3rd young ale and 2/3rd two year old matured ale”. I wanted to try something from Rodenbach because of their reputation, and I’m glad this was my introduction to them. It had a cloudy tannish red look with good carb and slight lacing. It smelled fruity and floral with a barrel presence. The first word that came to mind when tasting it was sharp, followed by bubbly and tangy. It was tart with mild booziness, and it kept my mouth watering between drinks. While it was very good, I’m not sure I’ll buy another one of it due to the price point, however I’ll still pick up anything this brewery makes that I haven’t tried yet.   OVERALL RATING: 4.42

9) PUMP[KY]N (Avery Brewing Company) – “Bourbon barrel aged pumpkin porter, spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves, and aged in fresh Bourbon barrels for 6 months”. I bought a couple bottles of this one last year, had one then and aged the rest. My wife loves pumpkin beers, and she REALLY loves this one. I have to agree with her – it almost drinks like a brandy or a port more than a beer. It’s super sweet with big pumpkin flavor and a heavy alcohol flavor. If anything, that’s my one complaint about Avery’s barrel aged beers – the ABV is too much. Sometimes I wonder if their stuff would taste even better if they lowered the alcohol content. I mentioned when reviewing it last year that I hoped aging some would bring that booze buzz down, and it definitely did. I will buy more of this one for sure, even if the price point is, like most Avery barrel aged 12 oz bottles, way too high.                                                     OVERALL RATING: 4.5

10) BOURBON BARREL AGED CHOCOLATE BARLEYWINE (Moody Tongue) – pretty much self explanatory by the title. Simple review: too much chocolate, not enough barrel or barley wine. I’m glad I bought a second, as I’m going to let it age and see if the chocolate mellows out a bit. For that reason, I have not yet rated it.

11) TART NOIRE (Paradox Beer Company) – “Dark Farmhouse Ale brewed with grape must aged in oak wine barrels”. I’ll admit I maybe messed up the bottle because I stored it in my fridge sideways instead of straight up as instructed on the label. There was a ton of sediment stuck to the bottom which I got off by pouring some back in and giving it a good swirl. It was almost like a shake at that point. It wasn’t a bad beer, but I wasn’t quite sure what they were going for. I wasn’t impressed with the smell or feel of it. Looked and tasted okay, but I’m probably not going to pick up anything else from the brewery in the future.                                                             OVERALL RATING: 3.93

12) GOOD FIEND (Pipeworks Brewing Co. with Parce Rum) – “Imperial Stout brewed with cocao nibs, vanilla beans and raspberries aged in Parce rum barrels”. First thing I have to say is Pipeworks is my favorite brewery, bar none, so maybe I’m a bit biased. But other than the Dark Apparition, this was the best of the bunch. It’s aged in rum barrels, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a rum barrel aged beer before, so it’s different. There’s a definite boozy sense to it imparted by the barrel, very present on the smell, but not as much on the taste-for a thirteen percent, it’s hidden rather well. The beer is very nice looking – dark brown with tannish edges, and a pretty healthy and constant lacing. Like I said, the barrel nature is the first thing that pops up on the smell, but there’s also chocolate and raspberry there. Upon drinking it, you’re hit with a combination of things: the roastiness you expect from a stout, the sweet chocolate flavor, the tartness of the raspberry, and the spicy booziness of the rum barrel. It’s a little oily, but with the great balance this has, I’m willing to overlook it. I like that Pipeworks rarely barrel ages stuff, so when they do, I look forward to it a lot. And this one did NOT disappoint.                                                 OVERALL RATING: 4.67

So that’s that. Thank you for reading, and may you not drink shitty beers!

writer’s note: no barrels were harmed in the making of these beers. I hope.

2016 Family Vacation – Beercation

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

It’s that time of year again: family vacation. Destination Florida. As always my wife allows me to plan many American craft beer stops. This year I stacked up, hitting all the two heavy hitters that I had planned: Cigar City and Funky Buddha.

Since the last time I was in Florida, many new American craft breweries have opened. I had 12 or so on the list. I hit 7: St. Pete Brewing, Green Bench Brewing, Cycle Brewing, Bury Me Brewing, Point Ybel Brewing, 26 Degree Brewing and Riptide Brewing. We also stopped at Chattahoochee Brewing Company in Phenix City, Alabama.

Instead of telling a long story intermixed with pictures, I have decided to tell the story with pictures with a few words attached to each image.

The time off from work was well needed. Rest, stress release and, most importantly, time to regroup with the family was most appreciated. Enjoy.

Useless Fact: All numbers from one through nine hundred ninety-nine does not have the letter “a” in it.

a tale of three beers

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Hey all. Had three fantastic beers recently (and a lot of good or average ones as well). Two of them were East Coast newbies for me and the third was the return of a Midwest beer, under a new name, and also one of my top five favorite beers.

  1. I got three different beers from Trillium from a new trading partner out of Connecticut. Haven’t drank the FREE RISE saison yet, and SCALED didn’t do much for me, but VICINITY was freaking insane. Cloudiest IPA I have ever had. It had very healthy foam and lacing, but it was so cloudy I couldn’t tell if there was any carbonation. Of course, I didn’t give a rat’s hindquarters, because I so rarely get to try beers like this. It presents with a big bitter hop nose which follows through on the taste. There was a slight citrus flavor and malt notes underneath everything, but the overall feel was light for a DIPA. The alcohol was very well disguised, and that helps make it feel very well balanced. Midwest beer folks, I have to tell you you should find a friend out East who could help you this one.
  2. But if you can get your butt to BJ’s in Oswego, keep an eye out for the next time Maine Beer Company LUNCH comes back around and you won’t have to pay for postage. Had a two week old bottle of it about two hours after picking it up on Monday. I couldn’t wait, as I’ve been wanting to try this one for almost as long as I’ve been into craft beer. I like the idea of an East Coast brewery doing a West Coast style. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, and at first taste, I thought “Is THAT all there is?” But once I started getting used to it and met it on its own terms, it really impressed me. It was a very good looking beer, golden orange with healthy foam/lacing and an amazing amount or particulates for an IPA (at least in my limited experience). It had a strong and well balanced hop and malt smell with a mild funk behind it. The malt was more forward on the taste than the hops, which presented as a bitter background. It was very refreshing and tasty, and if I can get more of it, I will. I am dying to try DINNER even more now, if it’s anywhere near as good as this.
  3. We’re now at the returning local favorite: EMERALD GROUPER, aka SQUARE GROUPER renamed. I’ve had this on the previous two releases. The second time, it seemed to disappoint me. The first time, I gave it a five star review. This time was more like the first. It was the cloudiest Midwestern DIPA I’ve ever had, almost like an East Coast style. There wasn’t strong foam to it, and like the VICINITY, I couldn’t tell if there was carbonation due to the cloudiness, but the lacing was pretty healthy. The nose is super strongly bitter-it’s one of those beers that I don’t have to ask my wife to drink to know she wouldn’t like-she smelled it, made a completely disgusted face, and handed the glass back to me. When that happens, I figure there’s a 75 percent chance or more that I’m going to love the beer. The bitter hop scent is accompanied by sweetness from the honey, and both the hops and sweetness present themselves strongly on the taste, backed up by slight bitterness. Absolutely one of the best tasting beers I’ve ever had. For a DIPA with honey, I’d say it’s as good as HOPSLAM.

Anyways, just some thoughts that I wanted to share. Thanks all. Going to get back to my FOUNDERS DEVIL DANCER before turning in.

Cheers!

Friday beers, Wednesday edition

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Sorry, sometimes will take me a bit to write what I intend to if things are busy, but I wanted to say something about my beer experience last Friday.

It started with me trying to prove my pet Beeradvocate.com hypothesis, which is this: if you go on the What Beer Are You Drinking Now thread early enough (in my case, opened the thread) and post a picture of Founders Breakfast Stout and a good heavy metal tune (in my case, Iron Maiden’s Run to the Hills), then you will “win” the most likes for the day, which I did, and by a pretty good margin. I find it interesting how that’s probably the most popular beer on that thread.

Later that afternoon, I was able to grab the last six pack of Three Floyd’s ZombieDust at my favorite beer store. Because I hadn’t had it in a long time, and I seem to forget how balanced and juicy it is in between times having it, it became the only beer I drank the rest of that day. It really is truly a great beer, despite how I sometimes bitch about the brewery being overrated.

Couple notes on the coffee beer post the other day:

-the Fouders Sumatra Mountain opens up nicely when you pour it into a coffee cup. Going to have to try it in a snifter at some point.

-Peace by Mikkeller was pretty good. It was a Belgian abbey ale with coffee and aged in Bourbon Barrels. Not big on the coffee flavor, but a very mellow and tasty beer. I usually find myself disappointed in their beers, so this was a pleasant surprise.

Well, off to do yard work and figuring out what to drink after the work is done.

Have a good one….

Beer blog? Eh, why not?

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Hi all. My name is Matt. I’m a friend of Scot, known him about three or so months, started hanging out because of something near and dear to all our hearts – beer. We encountered each other through the Beer Advocate website because of my predilection to post in the Latest Haul forum, and since I often described my trips to the store in Scot’s neighborhood, he contacted me to talk beer and invite me over for the weekly beer shares. I’ve learned a bit more about beer, I’ve hung out with some good people, and I’ve tried some damn good beers I probably wouldn’t have had the chance to if not for him.

Anyways, enough apple polishing. Why I am writing here? Well, my wife is a school teacher and her aide has made two suggestions to me about what I should do with my life to make extra money since I lost my job a few years ago. One was this week, when she said I could be her “EBay representative” (whatever the hell that entails). The other was probably sometime last year, when she said I should blog about beer. And then Scot comes along and offers me a chance to blog. Well, he don’t need to pay me to write about beer, and screw EBay, I always say.

So I decided to write down something about the more interesting beers I drink and share it here. I probably won’t mention everything in detail – I’ve been enjoying my two favorite SixPoint hop bombs this week: Resin and Hi-Res, and I picked up a four pack of Vallejo today because it’s a personal favorite. And at some point, I may discuss my feelings on Founders Breakfast Stout, but if I told you every time I opened one, you’d get tired of it pretty damn quick. But I probably will bore the shit out of you with my Ninja Vs Unicorn love. After all, my nickname for that beer is Mother’s Milk.

Anyways, I’ll keep this post about one type of beer I had this week, because I had some interesting ones, and that is coffee beers.

I started the week with Prairie Artisan’s Bomb! (for those of you unfamiliar with it, that’s the name, it’s not that I liked it so much I have to use exclamation points). I’ve had this on three or four occasions, the last before this week was on tap at the Open Bottle in Tinley Park before catching the shuttle bus to Dark Lord Day. I think I may have enjoyed it more that time. It seemed like this time from the bottle the coffee flavors were stronger.  I’m thinking the difference was obviously draft (freshly tapped that morning) vs bottle (and I’m not sure if Prairie dates their bottles). Either that, or I have to stop drinking my coffee beers in my Intech coffee mug. But Bomb! is an outstanding beer that I highly recommend you try at least once (the price point is a turn off, I get it). It’s extremely well balanced, it’s got lots of flavor, and the best way to describe it is it’s got a boozy spice that flows over the mild sweet roast like some sort of salsa soul mix.

That leads me to a second love that I may write about here from time to time – music. I won’t say a lot, just thoughts about stuff I like or hate and want to share. I downloaded the new Underworld album Monday. Quite good. First one from them in six years. There’s some stuff on there that’s very Radiohead Kid A sounding, there’s a good slice of 80’s synth pop, there’s some evil plodding drum and bass stuff, and there’s some classic techno music that’s totally what I expect from them. The best two tracks are the first ones, I Exhale and If Rah. They sound like LCD Soundsystem meets The Streets. (and if you don’t like electronic dance music or British rap, don’t bother looking any of these acts up)

Anywho, back to coffee beers. The second I tried was Founders Sumatra Mountain. I actually drank this from the bottle, so I didn’t get a great look at it. Maybe the next couple four packs. This was a good beer, but the coffee is almost TOO much. I heard one person describe it as almost a coffee flavored stout instead of a coffee flavored brown ale. I concur. It’s roasty and tasty, but it’s almost like drinking coffee instead of beer, because I didn’t get much in the way of ale on it. Not to say I’m not going to enjoy drinking the rest of them and seeing if I can actually find some ale-like qualities with it.

Okay, last one was one I had today that I had heard about years ago when I started getting into craft beer, but the idea of a Double IPA with coffee just disgusted me back then. But since I’m getting into the coffee beers and it just came out for the first time that I can remember in a while, I picked up a bottle of Pipeworks/18th Street’s collaboration Attack of the Devil’s Lettuce, and I’m damn glad I did. I’m a huge Pipeworks fanboy, but I have to say they very rarely disappoint me, and this one was great. It’s extremely well balanced. They use Sorachi hops, and from my experience, that’s a lighter hop – it doesn’t produce big citrusy notes or bitterness and it’s very accessible. That’s why I’m thinking it works – the Double IPA profile isn’t big and it mixes well with the coffee, which isn’t too overpowering. If it had a coffee presence as strong as Sumatra Mountain, this beer very well could have sucked. But it didn’t, and for that, I was quite glad. I’ll buy this one again when I see it. Plus it was a damn good beer to have on hand when there was stressful shit going on with a home improvement project over here.

So, that’s my thoughts about a couple coffee beers. I’m going to get back to the new Radiohead album and the year old Avery Samael I’ve been drinking for almost two hours. Nothing like a 15 percent ABV to start the evening.

Cheers. Hopefully Scot won’t revoke my posting privileges now.

 

Family Trip to Iowa, South Dakota and Colorado Yields American Craft Beer Score!

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

2015 trip for American craft beer booty

The family trip took out west, at least of where we live. Our main stopping points were South Dakota and Colorado with stops in Iowa, Minnesota and Wyoming. Per usual the wife was kind enough to allow me to stop at breweries, beer stores and brewpubs along the way.

The first stop was in northeast Iowa at Toppling Goliath Brewing Company in Decorah. I had a few beers on tap, excellent. The family was restless, time to move on. I picked up a few beers, highlighted in the beer haul section.

More to come…

Beer Haul

4 packs
  • Surly Furious (2)
  • Surly Doomtree
  • Surly Blakkr
  • Goose Island BCBS
  • Toppling Goliath Pseudo Sue (2)
  • Avery Liliko’i Kepolo (2)
  • Telluride Fishwater IIPA
6 pack
  • Squatters Off Duty IPA
  • Indeed Let it Ride IPA
  • Telluride Bridal Veil
  • Toppling Goliath Dorothy’s New World Lager
Miscellaneous
  • Bull & Rush 4.0 GPA
  • Bull & Rush Man Beer
  • Avery Tectum et Elix (2)
  • Avery Insuln mulfos Callibus
  • Toppling Goliat Zeelander (2)
  • Avery Raspberry Sour
  • Sulry 2015 Pentagram (2)
  • Victory Sour Monkey
  • Topppling Goliath 1492 IPA (2)
  • Humbolt Black Xantus
  • Squatters Outer Darkness
  • Alaskan IIPA brewed with Rye
  • Dschutes 2015 Jubel (2)
  • Alaskan Double Black IPA
  • Humbolt 500 BC
Crooked Stave
  • St. Bretta (late spring)
  • Hop Savant – Citra (2)
  • Hop Savant – Amarillo (2)
  • Petite Sour – Tart Cherry
  • Colorado Wild Sage
  • Vieille
  • Surette
  • Origins (3)
  • Nightmare on Brett (4)
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