Archive for the ‘Lounge’ Category

Trade, Oklahoma edition

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

So today’s blog is about ALPHA HIVE, a double IPA from Coop Ale Works out of Oklahoma City, OK. It was acquired from a gentleman named Jason, and there are three things I want to mention about the trade I made with him that netted me this beer:
1) I found out about Jason being a willing trade participant because he traded with a certain beer dude in the recent past
2) I sent him a couple of local barrel aged beers, and that’s because
3) the “main event” of his part of the trade was the three Founders’ Canadian Breakfast Stouts he sent me

Alpha Hive is very reminiscent of a much more well known beer, one called Hopslam, as this is a double IPA with honey. It’s listed as 100+ IBU and 9.1%ABV.

The beer is a brownish gold with mild head and lacing. It’s got a haze that’s caused by the considerable particulate presence. Smell is dank and hoppy with a definite honey background. Taste? Delicious. Hoppiness is there in the bitter forefront, but the sweet honey asserts itself and it leads to a taste combination that works together, not against each other. Feel is dominated by the strong alcohol, kind of juicy, well balanced, easy to drink for a beer that’s strong in a couple different ways.

Overall, I’d say this one gives Hopslam pretty good competition as a quality double IPA with honey.

American Craft Beer Prices – Again!

Saturday, February 10th, 2018

American craft beer prices continue to climb. There seems to be no stop in site. It drives me to home brew more often in spite of a crazy busy day-to-day schedule.

This most recent rant on American craft beer prices was brought out by the purchases I recently made at the local box beer store. Severn different American craft beers were purchased with an overall cost of $96.93 (excluding tax). Side note: this was the first American craft beer purchase in several months. Below is a list of the purchases:

Only one beer under $10.00. And, that beer, when I originally had it was only $6.99. That is a $2.00 price hike or, more meaningful, a 28.6% price hike. Other beers, on the list above, that I have reviewed on Two Beer Dudes, have had similar price hikes (why logging this crap is so important).

According to the graphic (huffingtonpost.com) some 52% of the cost of American craft beer comes from the distributor and retail markups. Never thought it was that much. Wait. Why does beer still cost so much when purchased directly from the brewery?

This isn’t my first rodeo discussing (complaining) about American craft beer prices…

Past articles on American craft cost:

Some of the articles above were speculative. Surprisingly, possibly not, but some of those have come true. Especially the post on American craft beer limited lease price increases.

What is next?

The only way that change will occur: people have to stop paying the rising prices for American craft beer. But, the fever is on, it is the in thing. This is scary similar to the wine industry some 15 – 20 years ago.

Prediction: I think that the American craft beer bubble is going to burst in the next three to five years.

In the meantime, make mine a home brew. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: There are 318,979,564,000 possible combinations of the first four moves in Chess.

Trade, Oregon edition

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

So I never got around to Ohio, Fresh Hop part 2, but I had a new one to me last night from a friend named Phil who is a recent transplant to Oregon. He sent me a Pelican Brewing’s Mother of All Storms (which will be shared with a certain beer dude at some point), a bottle of Hair of the Dog’s Matt (for obvious reasons, a beer I’ve always wanted to try), and two cans of STICKY HANDS, an IPA from Block 15 out of Corvallis Oregon.

The first thing I can say about it is it was brewed December 19th, 2017, and I had the first one between January 10th and 14th, and it was amazing. The second thing I can say about it is it is not a beer to let age more than three to four weeks, as while it was amazing, it definitely wasn’t as good as it was when fresher. I guess that’s why the can reads “best before yesterday”.

Any way, it’s a fun looking beer. It’s a very cloudy gold orange with slight foam and lacing, plenty of particulates and carbonation. The smell is straight up danky hops, with a slight mild citrus presence. Taste starts with a dank bitterness than opens up into hoppiness and citrus and pine flavors. It’s not as crisp and booming as it was when fresher, but it still has plenty of hop presence and flavor. It’s a dry beer, but very mouth filling with a strong alcohol presence. It’s an easy sipper and a very good beer, and I’d look forward to trying it again, only this time finishing them all off right off the bat instead of letting any age too long.

Home Brewing Keg Beer Line Cleaner

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Being new to kegging my home brewing endeavors, each and every process I partake is new. Since I am a logical person, processes are always met with a why and how may I do it easier and cheaper. Sometimes, I even wonder if the step is necessary.

Cleaning the tap lines after use seemed to be one of those perfect processes for questioning:

  • How often does this need to be done?
  • What is the process for cleaning?
  • Is there only one way to clean?
  • Why should it be done?
  • What supplies/equipment is/are needed to clean the lines.

Doing a search for tap lines cleaning quickly brought up the purchase our product and do it this way solution. In fact, the SEO for that process must be awesome as it was listed multiple times in the search engine results. I didn’t like the price tag. There had to be home made examples that would cost half as much or less.

Of course, finding them wasn’t hard. There were videos of the build and cleaning process. I liked the $20 for the solution. I decided to write about it to help get the word out, highlight the videos I used and give an actual part list.

Part list:

  1. Flo Master 56HD (~$6.99) – pick this up at home depot. It is in the lawn and garden section.
  2. 3/8″ brass flare tip connector (~$1.69) – pick this up at home depot as well.
  3. Firestone keg liquid post (~$14.99). There is a link in the first video to buy one on line but bring the brass flare time connector with you to the local home brew shop and you will have it immediately.
  4. Teflon tap. Come on, any DYI will have this laying around.

Three notes about the build:

  1. I had to use a wrench to fully get the flare tip connector into the Flo Master. Be careful as to not over tighten.
  2. The picture is a close up of how the pieces go together on the Flo Master. Somewhat hard to see in the videos.
  3. This should not leak!

Watch the videos on how to put it together: much easier than trying to explain. The two videos, that together combine to give the parts list, as well as how to assemble and use the beer line cleaner, are both included below.

Useless Fact: A giraffe can run faster then a horse, and can live without water longer than a camel.

Home brew supplies gets a new home

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Scratch built shelves to house all my home brewing supplies.

I have been home brewing for ten years, give or take. It has been a wild ride. During that time I have tried many techniques, some fads and some that have built the foundation of how I continue to home brew.

Some of the techniques that I tried needed new equipment or adjustments to equipment that I already had on hand. Nonetheless, the accumulation of supplies had taken up a good portion of one basement corner. Everything was neatly on the floor but, due to size, the sheer amount of square footage eaten up was ridiculous, besides, it still looked messy. A thorn in my eye.

For a couple of months I had thoughts of creating some type of shelving. The shelving would solve multiple issues/problems:

  • Get everything off the floor. We have had water seepage in the past.
  • Give us back some room in the basement. We need more room for ball handling drills.
  • Turn the neat messiness into just neatness.

The shelves were inspired by shelves a friend had built in his basement to store all of his wife’s stuff. The unit would allow my grain storage, which on wheels, to easily slide in and out on the bottom while the plastic container protects against water. The upper shelves would allow for carboys, kegs, kettles, etc to fit together nicely.

After eight hours of work, fourteen feet of shelving had been completed. The shelving was put together using the following:

  • 2″ x 4″ – used to anchor the back part of each shelf to the wall.
  • 1″ x 4″ – used to create the horizontal structure for each shelf.
  • 1/2″ plywood – for the shelf top, ripped to 18″ wide.
  • 1″ drywall screws – secured the plywood.
  • 2 1/2″ screws – secured all 1″ x 4″ pieces to each other via toe-nailing.

I used all screws in order to allow for this to be taken apart. The 10′ shelf was on 24″ centers while the 4′ shelf was on 16″ centers. This was due to the fact of wanting to place bottled beer on the 4′ section. It is much sturdier. All legs were 24″ in height (this forced the kegs to a top shelf).

After cleanup, it was time to load up all the supplies into their new homes. A few rearrangements later and I think I had a good configuration.

There was the added bonus of ease of access to the supplies as well. Now I know I never need to purchase another carboy. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: Louis Chevrolet, the founder of Chevrolet, died bankrupt and poor working as a mechanic for the company he started.

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.

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