Archive for December, 2010

Founders Nemesis 2009 (365 Day 30)

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Founders Brewing Company Nemesis

The day before New Years Eve, I thought to myself that it would be nice to pull out a quality beer as I knew I was going to crack open Rare Bourbon County Stout the next day, so I needed something that could lead me in to such a big American craft beer.

Nemesis 2009 by Founders, which had been aging in the cellar for nearly year, seemed to be the perfect fit. I have heard good things about this annual release, with each being a bit different than the previous. Time to take the plunge. Needless to say, I was excited for this tasting and review.

After the physical eying of the beer, it was all down hill for me: the aroma and taste just wasn’t what I expected. Flavors seemed to be off and not well balanced. The drinkability suffered because of this. A bit of a let down.

For the difficulty I had obtaining this beer (called and drove all over the place) and the cost (nearly $6 per bottle and some places raised the price to gouge), this version of Nemesis falls short. After looking at my review and points, I actually believe I over rated this beer. Just give me my KBS and I will be happy. Enjoy!

Aroma: 9, Taste: 8, Look: 8, Drinkability: 7, Overall: 7.9

Useless Fact: Nerve impulses to and from the brain travel as fast as 170 miles (274 km) per hour.

Cape Ann Fisherman’s Brew (365 Day 29)

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Cape Ann Brewing Company Fisherman's Brew

Fisherman’s Brew by Cape Ann Brewing is one of those American craft beers that I look forward to like going to the dentist. Why? First, it is an American Amber Lagers that, to me, is just a junk category for beer, similar to on the ale side. I have never really had much from that category that has overly sparked my interest. They seem to be geared towards the I made a beer and don’t know what to do with and/or for trying to convert macro beer drinkers to the American craft beer world. Second, I had one of their other offerings and I was unimpressed. Seemingly these small breweries follow the same M.O. for most of their beers. Finally, this time of the year I really appreciate my stouts and other similar large beers.

Rant over. Time to talk about the actual review of the beer.

Poured clear, with little foam, retention, or lacing: typical for the style. The aroma was a little slight but some toasted malt did come through, as it did in the taste. Not surprising on either front. A nice, clean bittering hop help to cut through the sweetness in the taste, giving a crisp finish. Medium body is helped by a crisp helping of carbonation. All combined a easy drinking beer that was a bit better than I expected, so it was a win. Enjoy!

Aroma: 6, Taste: 7, Look: 8, Drinkability: 9, Overall: 7.6

Useless Face: Donald Duck Comics were once banned in Finland because he doesn’t wear pants.

Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine (365 Day 28)

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Kuhnhenn Brewing Company Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine

Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine by Kuhnhenn, beer number two from Kuhnhenn’s winter solstice bottle buy, was the target of the day.

I have been looking at the American craft beers that I have been savoring lately and noticed that the list is quite good. I will have to slow it down after the New Year as I cannot keep pace, especially budget wise. Let me tell you, Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine is no exception.

I chose this beer as my brother-in-law brought it up from the basement along with another Kuhnhenn’s beer and the word Bourbon in the name of the beer caught my fancy rather quickly.

Poured into a nice brandy glass at cellar temperature, the beer poured beautifully. The aroma of subdued bourbon met me nose: the kind that doesn’t over power the beer but is just a nice addition, creating more complexities. Oak and vanilla, no doubt from the bourbon barrel, are also present and seemingly in perfect cohorts with the sweet malt and dark fruits that are part of the wonderful bouquet. The taste is no slough either: everything from the nose is carried through. The most enticing part is the way the bourbon starts mid taste and lasts through until the end. So well balanced. A great sipping beer that can warm, but not alcoholic wise, on those cold winter days. Enjoy!

Aroma: 10, Taste: 9, Look: 8, Drinkability: 9, Overall: 9.1

Useless Fact: California consumes more bottled water than any other product.

Khunhenn Brewing Raspberry Eisbock (365 Day 27)

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Kuhnhenn Brewing Company Raspberry Eisbock

Michigan seems to be one of the better states for American craft beer. I believe, the last time I checked, they had almost 90 breweries and brewpubs and, in spite of the economic status of the state, still climbing.

Kuhnhenn Brewing Company seems to currently have a great handle on good American craft beer. It has been very difficult to get their beers lately as, from what I have heard, very near a year since they last bottled. So, unless you have the means to get to their brewpub in Warren, Michigan you would have a hard scoring some of their fine beers.

I have had the chance, once, to visit the brew pub, but that wasn’t fulfilling enough, as there is so much more I wanted to taste. I was in luck as they bottled and released beer during their Winter Soltice held on December 22nd and 23rd. My brother-in-law was gracious enough to stop by and pick me up some bottles. As it turned out at a great cost: $7+ for 12 ounce bottles, but that is a blog for another day. He kept a few bottles for himself as I believe I have now completely converted him to American craft beer. 🙂

Raspberry Eisbock is a beer that I have heard great things about and it is highly sought after. Jim, my brother-in-law, scored me six!!! Raspberry comes through delightfully on the nose and mouth. It seemingly is the perfect balance that it doesn’t overwhelm but just pleases. Caramel is there but there is a touch of chocolate that is just perfect for this beer. It is a dessert in a bottle. The alcohol is 13.5% but you would never know it. The only shame is that it is a 6.3 ounce bottle and cost $13 but I hate to say it is worth it. Enjoy!

Aroma: 9, Taste: 10, Look: 9, Drinkability: 9, Overall: 9.3

Useless Fact: The average ear of corn has eight hundred kernels arranged in sixteen rows.

Maine Beer Spring Peeper Ale (365 Day 26)

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Maine Beer Company Spring Peeper Ale

Hopefully everyone has realized by now that I blog about my American craft beer tasting the day after I had it as I usually consume the beverage at night. This also allows for my thoughts to come clear, reasoning out any bias I might have had towards the beer in the heat of the moment.

Spring Peeper Ale by Maine Beer Company is not a beer that I can get locally but have been fortunate enough to receive over and over again from a frequent trading partner in Maine.

Spring Peeper is an American Pale Ale that is nicely dry hopped, making the beer so inviting. The rest of the beer is just a solid pale ale. Some sweetness with a mild hop balance. If this beer was local, it would be my go to beer. I find it really well balanced, easy to drink, and refreshing.

Now I have to figure out a way to get this beer on tap. Zoe, another Maine Beer Company beer, is also bottled now a really solid porter. Try and get them both. Enjoy!

Aroma: 9, Taste: 9, Look: 9, Drinkability: 9, Overall: 9.0

Useless Fact: Papaphobia is the fear of Popes.

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout (365 Day 25)

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout by Goose Island was the American craft beer of the day.

Just a quick story about Christmas Day: my Mom and Dad gave me a wrapped box that looked familiar but I didn’t want to even begin to believe what it might be. Eventually it was my turn to open and decided that this present was my number one target. What was it: unbelievably my Mom put out the coin to pick me up a bottle of Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Rare Stout. Yes, I said Rare. My wife and I will be partaking come New Years Eve.

Now back to Coffee. This is my third time having this beer and I must say that the coffee is beginning to fall out. It still has plenty of coffee on top of the normal Bourbon County Brand Stout. This is definitely better than the “normal” version as the coffee adds a unique level of complexity and hides the bourbon alcohol forwardness of the original.

It is a shame the coffee is falling out but hopefully they will decided to make this an annual offering so that I can partake each season. Enjoy!

Aroma: 10, Taste: 9, Look: 10, Drinkability: 9, Overall: 9.4

Useless Fact: At -40 degrees Centigrade/Fahrenheit, a person loses about 14.4 calories per hour by breathing.

Great Lakes Christmas Ale (365 Day 24)

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Great Lakes Brewing Company Christmas Ale

The day before Christmas and all through the house I was dreaming which American craft beer I would have for Christmas Eve. There was a little snow on the ground and the kids where playing on the snow hill at the end of the court; I need something with a Holiday theme.

Christmas Ale by Great Lakes Brewing Company was about the only seasonal beer I had in the cellar. Not a huge fan.

Since I was full of snow, I asked the wife to pour me the Christmas Ale. Within a few seconds she appeared at the door with the beer in the bottle. I gave her a quick glance and without hesitation she took the beer back, poured it into a pint glass, and brought it back out. Now I was ready.

I had Christmas Ale last year and only had a bottle this season as my neighbor, Miles, brought one over to share earlier.

I don’t know if it was the sweat, the cold, and the anticipation of Christmas, but this beer tasted much better than I remembered. The spices were more subdued and held back with more of a malt balance. Unfortunately I was not able to finish my beer as my daughter kicked the glass that I placed on the snow hill while digging a ginormous hole through the hill. Oh well, at least I could play on the hill. Enjoy!

Aroma: 8,Taste: 8, Look: 8, Drinkability: 8, Overall: 8.0

Useless Face: The first person to ever survive the fall over Niagara Falls was in 1901 when Annie Edson Taylor, a 43 year-old widowed school teacher from Bay City, Michigan, survived the fall in a 260 pound oak barrel.

Lagunitas Brown Shugga (365 Day 23)

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Lagunitas Brown Shugga

It seems that American craft beer is showing up in bars more regularly these days. Beer bars have a list, similar to wine, of their beer offerings: American and foreign.

Last night the wife said she would pick me up from work with the kids and we could have some dinner in the city (Chicago). I figured Jak’s Tap would be the easiest: we had been there before, has light traffic on Fridays, we all liked the food, and had a decent beer menu.

Now I say decent in terms of the beer menu because I only want American craft beer and that list is maybe 25 beers on tap. Not shabby, but most of these beers are geared towards trying to turn your macro drinkers.

Our server mentioned that Lagunitas Brown Shugga’ was a special at $4.00 a pint for the evening. How could I go wrong as I have never had the beer and beer on tap is darn tasty?

Brown Shugga’ has a heaping helping of brown sugar, malt, and, as I found out in the nose, a delicious helping of citrus and pine hops. The hops come through late in the taste and help to balance. The alcohol, which is at a dangerous 10%, does not even appear anywhere in the beer. Not good when you think how easy this beer is to drink. Enjoy!

Aroma: 9, Taste: 9, Look: 8, Drinkability: 9, Overall: 8.9

Useless Fact: Most elephants weigh less than the tongue of the blue whale.

New England Zapata Bot (365 Day 22)

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

New England Brewing Company Zapata Bot

After having Black Tuesday as my American craft beer of the day for beer #21, I was working on a plan for the beer that I would have for #22. How could I follow up such a good beer? I needed something that would be good but figured it better not be in the same style or anything close, that way I wouldn’t even try to compare the beer to Black Tuesday.

Simple enough. Zapata Bot by New England Brewing Company is an American Imperial IPA made from the base beer of Gandhi-Bot then aged on Tequila and oak.

So the combination of IPA, Tequila, and oak should all be somewhat worthy of helping me concentrate and review the beer in front of me. They only made slightly over 700 bottles, making me fortunate to have one to review.

The beer pours out an amazingly huge head that quickly cuts down to about 60% of its beginning volume, then lasting and becoming frothy. Unique to begin. The aroma is strong on hops. Oak and earth tones compliment, enriching the nose. Taste isn’t far behind but seemingly more complex as a treasure chest worth of flavors abound from the glass. A really unique spin on the style that completely worked for me. Enjoy!

Aroma: 9, Taste: 9, Look: 8, Drinkability: 9, Overall: 8.9

Useless Fact: The giant squid, found usually in the deep reaches of the oceans, has the largest eye of any animal.

The Bruery Black Tuesday (365 Day 21)

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

The Bruery Black Tuesday

Black Tuesday, by The Bruery, is currently one of those American craft beers that is highly sought after. I have often wondered if I would have in my cellar what it takes to land one of these.

Recently, with the 2010 release, they had a few they were selling via their website after the initial release. I had it all lined up that my cousin, who lives in California, would travel to pick up the beer. Based on what I thought I read on the site, the beers would go up for sale at 9:00pm. What a goof. I was 9:00am, completely shutting me out of a real chance to pick up the beer.

Well last night was TNBC at my house and Mark brought along Black Tuesday ’09. He has been trying to get us to drink it for several months. I guess it isn’t a beer that has to be forced on many. As our last beer of the evening, after a list of big beers, we decided to partake.

The aroma of this beer is special, inviting, and an overall joy for the snozola. Chocolate, almost creamy like, starts off over the top of a blend of dark fruits, molasses, and dark malts. Time spent taking the aroma in for Black Tuesday is time well spent. The taste is right up there to. Each sip brings out another layer of the delectable beer. The large, creamy body seems perfectly placed for this beer too. In spite of the alcohol (19%) it was very noticeable. Just an outstanding beer that I know want again and again and again. If you have the means to obtain one, please do as you will be doing beer consuming senses a favor. Enjoy!

Aroma: 10, Taste: 10, Look: 9, Drinkability: 10, Overall: 9.9

Useless Fact: Canadian researchers have found that Einstein’s brain was 15% wider than normal.