Archive for February, 2011

Potosi Brewing Company Fiddler Oatmeal Stout (365 Day 89)

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Potosi Fiddler Oatmeal Stout

I am beginning to believe that tasting American craft beer is an art form unto itself. A persons mood can change from day to day and from hour to hour. There is no perfect mood that a person can be in to review beer. Ideally the person is in the same mood every time, has no outside stress, hasn’t had or doesn’t have a cold, hasn’t had a swing in weight, etc. All these changes can affect the way a person perceives a beer and thus the recommendations about the beer. We would like to think we can control and are unbiased, but let’s not kid ourselves.

I went into my tasting review of Fiddler Oatmeal Stout by Potosi Brewing Company with the enthusiasm that I had been brewing beer all afternoon which just leaves that taste in my mouth for a good old American craft beer. On the other hand, it left the skepticism of Snake Hollow IPA.

Simply: was this beer going to quench my American craft beer itch and do it well?

Fiddler Oatmeal Stout did exactly that: quenched my thirst and did it well. If the aroma could pick it up a notch or two, this stout would be really well balanced. In spite of the weak showing in the nose, it comes together well in the mouth with a slight creaminess which I would assume is from the oats. A beer Potosi should be proud of. Enjoy!

Aroma: 6, Taste: 8, Look: 9, Drinkability: 8, Overall: 7.7

Useless Fact: The average person will spend 2 weeks over their lifetime waiting for the traffic light to change.

Flossmoor Bourbon Barrel Wooden Horse (365 Day 88)

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Saturday found me in line at the Flossmoor release of Hi-Fi Rye. Usually releases at Flossmoor are rather subdued and showing up for a release is unheard of.

Well this release of Hi-Fi Rye, the second, had Flossmoor decide they needed a ticket system. To make a long story short, they did. As it turns out, when I arrived at 11:30am, 30 minutes before release, I was handed ticket 237 and Rich ticket 238. Based on the number of cases, if everyone in front of us took their full allotment: six normal and six bourbon aged, we would have been left out in the cold. Fortunately that didn’t happen and we received what we wanted. Some 15 people or so after us, they ran out of the bourbon aged.

Since my mood wasn’t that great (as I thought I wouldn’t get beer) my wife went and picked me up a snifter of Bourbon Barrel Wooden Horse. I really didn’t take notes, so the little I will state is from memory. There was a subtle tartness to the finish while the bourbon hit large, yet smooth. It might have drowned out the beer just a touch too much but other wise, per most of Flossmoor’s bourbon aged beers, this was just what the doctor ordered. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: The Steel Phantom in West Millen, Pennsylvania, is the fastest roller coaster in America, reaching speeds of 80 miles (129 km) per hour.

Terrapin Brewing Company Moo-Hoo Chocolate Milk Stout (365 Day 87)

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Terrapin Moo-Hoo Chocolate Milk Stout

Oh, the Friday evening American craft beer. It marks the end of the work week, for most, and the beginning of a few days of comfort, relaxation, and work around the house. I think that a craft beer on Friday night is a persons right and passage into the weekend.

Some might argue that many beers are the best way to start off on Friday night. I do not concur. American craft beer is to be appreciated, understood, and savored. If that isn’t your goal, then stay with your macros.

Terripan Brewing Company out of Athens, Georgia, is one that I have appreciated over the past few years. I always have to obtain the beers by others means and, on the hole, they are worth it.

Beer number 87, Moo-Hoo Chocolate Milk Stout, is my tenth flavor from Terripan Brewing. I found the beer to be a fairly good example of a milk stout with one major exception: the roasted flavor. Even though there was some sweetness from the lactose, there was much more roasted flavor, that for me, pushed it towards a normal and/or dry stout. I really like roasted flavor in a stout, just don’t think this type of stout really has cause for it. Still drinkable. Enjoy!

Aroma: 8, Taste: 6, Look: 10, Drinkability: 8, Overall: 7.8

Useless Fact: It is possible to drown and not die. Technically the term “drowning” refers to the process of taking water into the lungs, not to death caused by that process.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales Poppaskull (365 Day 86)

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Dogfish Head Poppaskull

Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales recently was the center piece to a television program: “Brew Masters” on the Discovery Channel. I am sure that spotlight helped sales, hopefully it helped sales for all American craft beer. Dogfish Head seems to be a brewery that many, pro and amateur beer drinkers alike, believe to be great and innovative, producing high quality, drinkable beer.

I, unfortunately, am not one who finds greatness in their beers. I like their line of ipas: 60, 90, and 120 minute, but I think the 120 minutes is more realistically a barley wine and that is about where my desire for their beers stops.

Now, I am not really into bashing the brewers as I know that brewing is an art form and to each there own. I will stop on the overall brewery negativity here.

Poppaskull was a beer that was a collaboration between Dogfish Head and Three Floyds. I thought that Three Floyds would work some of their hop magic on the beer but I was disappointed. 35% of the beer was aged in brandy barrels. Outside of the beer being dry, I really couldn’t find any traces of brandy, oak, vanilla, etc; the usual oak aging suspects. The beer was okay, but I was expecting much more from two supposed powers houses in the industry putting together their collective talents. Enjoy!

Aroma: 8, Taste: 7, Look: 9, Drinkability: 6, Overall: 7.2

Useless Fact: If you keep a Goldfish in the dark room, it will eventually turn white.

New Glarus Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale (365 Day 85)

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

New Glarus Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale

As the American craft beer scene continues to develop, more and more breweries have jumped on the limited release band wagon. It seems that they are only fueling the thirst that beer drinkers and nerds have: annual releases, release parties, and hard to get beers. The beer connoisseur wants to be the guy online bragging about the greatest rare release that everyone has to have but only 200 bottles were produced.

Fortunately, some breweries haven’t taken to that extreme, with New Glarus being one of those with their Unplugged series of beers. They release, in smaller batches but not the minuteness of beers mentioned above. As long as you can get to Wisconsin, you should be able to get some. Also, these beers are quite good with some even demanding an encore performance.

New Glarus’s most recent Unplugged release is Smoked Rye Ale. This is a rye ale with a TON of smoke in it. I felt like strips of bacon where in the beer, which is usually a good thing for me, but in this case: yuck. I am not a fan of smoked beers but I thought I would take a chance on Smoke Rye Ale as New Glarus usually doesn’t let me down. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be this time. The smoke is so over the top it drowns out just about every and any other aspect of the beer on the nose and mouth. I am sure that some people will really like this beer but it just doesn’t agree with me. Enjoy!

Aroma: 7, Taste: 6, Look: 9, Drinkability: 5, Overall: 6.4

Useless Fact: The average cough comes out of your mouth at 60 miles (96.5 km) per hour.

Sand Creek Brewing Lilja’s Hop Nest Monster IPA (365 Day 84)

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Lilja's Hop Nest Monster IPA

Some nights when you are looking through the American craft beers in the cellar or fridge, it is very clear as to which beverage should be reviewed. A meeting of the bottle/can and your mind is one. Maybe it is the name of the beer, the look of the logo, the style of the beer, or it just could be a blind grab.

Last night I chose Lilja’s Hop Nest Monster IPA by Sand Creek Brewing Company. I chose this beer because the label is damn cool: some very dinosaur looking version of the lock nest monster, the style: American IPA as there is almost never a bad time for an IPA, and I even liked the name: Hop Nest Monster, sort of catchy. So my selection had nothing to do with knowledge of the beer inside the container: pure selection by look and appeal.

Hop Nest Monster was a bit of a let down when it came to the aroma as it really didn’t have that nice dry hop aroma that I was expecting out of an American IPA. Instead there was bread malt and a touch of lemon hops. I did check out the web site, on there it was mentioned that the beer was not dry hopped, bummer. Likewise, because we partially drink the aroma, there wasn’t much hop presence in the taste either. Oh, there was some bitterness and citrus/lemon flavor but it was minimal.

If you are looking for a more malt forward IPA, that drinks well because of the minimal, non-lasting bitterness, give this beer a try as it is definitely above average, just not out of this world enticing for an American IPA. Enjoy!

Aroma: 7, Taste: 7, Look: 8, Drinkability: 7, Overall: 7.2

Useless Fact: In ancient Rome, it was considered a sign of leadership to be born with a crooked nose.

Clipper City Brewing Company Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning (365 Day 83)

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning

This beer comes by way of King Bob, who is also doing this 365 American craft beers in 365 days craziness. I have been impressed with the selection of beverages that we exchanged. Small Craft Warning continues the trend. Small Craft Warning is brewed up by Clipper City Brewing Company.

A sub name of the beer is Über Pils as it is an American Imperial Pilsner. Bread malt, citrus, and lemon grass come through in the nose and taste – they are actually about the only things that come through. There isn’t an alcohol tinge at all, which really helps the drinkability.

The funny thing about last night was that I wasn’t really looking forward to a beer as it was later in the evening when I had a chance to imbibe. I always like the pleasant surprises of an off evening being rewarded with an American craft beer that delivers past my expectations. Enjoy!

Aroma: 8, Taste: 8, Look: 9, Drinkability: 8, Overall: 8.2

Useless Fact: The housefly hums, middle octave, key of F.

Ale Asylum Madtown Nutbrown (365 Day 82)

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Ale Asylum Madtown Nutbrown Ale

Ale Asylum continues to impress with their assortment of above average beers that are flowing out of south-central Wisconsin. Madtown Nutbrown Ale fits in perfectly, helping to round out their offerings.

The taste, which seems to come up a bit short for me, was the least impressive of the qualities but it still was above average. The rest of the beer was just really solid. Madtown is definitely a beer that you could have several.

I don’t know if Ale Asylum has that big of a distribution area. Do they even make it across all of Wisconsin? Rich and I visited about a year or so ago, the brewpub wasn’t big but had a fair amount of customers, seemingly happy with its place in life. I hope some expansion is in store just to see them use their artisan skills on some new and exciting styles and ventures. Enjoy!

Aroma: 9, Taste: 7, Look: 9, Drinkability: 8, Overall: 8.2

Useless Fact: The average life of a taste bud is 10 days.

Firestone Walker Brewing Double Jack (365 Day 81)

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Firestone Walker Double Jack

It isn’t often that the wife and get to go out and appreciate a few, quality American craft beers. The day was long with painting, running around but baby sitter showed up, we were ready for a few hours of freedom. We went to a local bar, that I had called earlier to see what was on tap. Double Jack by Firestone Walker Brewing Company was flowing. I had heard good things about this beer. I needed my piece of the pie.

Once we arrived my wife said that she wanted something bourbon aged. Got to love that in a woman. The only thing on the menu that fit the request was Dragon’s Milk by New Holland Brewing Company. Unfortunately, for my wife, she thought it would be prudent to throw back three of those in a matter of a couple of hours. Yuck describes the rest of the evening for her.

Double Jack is something special. It is that simple. Pine is the foremost in the character of this beer. Citrus and malt sweetness are there also. The mouth seems to add a bit of mangoish flavor that leads me to believe Citra hops might have been used. The big alcohol is well hidden, dangerously so. I could have this over and over again. The bar tender did tell me they were getting three more barrels of this fine nectar. I will be back. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: The first toilet ever seen on television was on “Leave It to Beaver.”

Home Brew IPA (365 Day 80)

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Home Brewing

It has been a while but I made my first home brewing club meeting in about five months. I am part of the Head Hunters Brewing Club that meets in Aurora, IL once a month on a Friday at 7:00pm.

I haven’t been going to the meetings because of the coincidence with TNBC. They are not on the same night but usually the same week. It turns out to be another night that I am away from the family as I also play basketball on Wednesday nights. Based on that schedule, the amount of time I am away just because of work, I feel like I am cheating the family. Besides, Friday night is movie night in our house hold and I love pop corn 🙂

Ever since my last visit I have been working on and tweaking my home brews. My current setup, which is dried malt extract and a five gallon pot on my home stove, doesn’t’ allow me to do full boils for five gallon batches. This made most of my beers come out thin since I had to top off with anywhere from one to two gallons once I racked the wort. Since then I have scaled down to 2.5 gallon batches which allows for a full boil in my five gallon pot and a much tastier, fuller beer.

My recent IPA is my best so far and one that I will continue to make. I actually used some remnant malts (60L and 120L Crystal) instead of what the original recipe I made called for. I used Simcoe, Armillo, and Citra hops. The latter two I wish I could grow in my yard but that is a story for another day. The dry hopping of Armillo and Citra came out exactly as I hoped and wished. The beer smells fantastic, has a solid body, and a good taste with a light bitterness. Finally, a home brew to be proud of. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: In Utah, it is illegal to swear in front of a dead person.