Archive for March, 2011

Two Brothers Brewing Company Prairie Path Golden Ale (365 Day 120)

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Two Brothers Prairie Path Golden Ale

I have had this internal struggle with Two Brothers Brewing Company for quite some time now. About a year ago I gave them a second lease on life, retrying many of their beers with a new outlook. Happily most of the beers that I tried I liked and have them since. I have gone to the Two Brothers on numerous occasions with family or friends for food, beer, and/or a tour.

So last night I open up a bottle of Prairie Path Golden Ale, which is their interpretation of a Belgian pale ale. I don’t know what it was last night but Prairie Path just didn’t agree with me. I wasn’t feeling that well; maybe that had something to do with it.

This reminds me of one of the reasons why I doubted Two Brothers in the first place. I won’t let one beer persuade me to stop their offerings but I would say Prairie Path and I don’t mix well. Try some of their other offerings as they do make some really solid beers. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: The distance between an alligators eyes in inches, is directly proportional to the length of the alligator in feet.

Surly Brewing Company Smoke (365 Day 119)

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Surly Smoke

American craft beer was on high alert as we had our monthly get together of TNBC. More on another blog about this (if Shawn get’s me the results) but the theme of the evening was lagers.

An interesting theme actually. When I started thinking about the ratio of ales I have to lagers, there was no comparison. I almost don’t even think about lagers, period. If I do, it is usually in terms of the macro American adjunct lagers. That is not a good topic with me.

Unexpectedly the evening yielded quite a nice group of lagers. Leading the way was Smoke by Surly Brewing Company. Picking this beer as the favorite of the night and as beer number 119 is a small miracle. If you have followed the blog at all you will know that I hate smoke in my beer. A beer named “SMOKE” makes me nervous.

Smoke, though, is nicely smoked in such a way that it doesn’t take over the beer in the aroma or in the mouth. There is enough in both instances to let you know they are there but they are no bothersome or over accented. The smoke in the mouth comes late and gently stays for a few seconds before inviting for another go around. I am actually glad that I have this beer in my cellar but I would definitely have to share the 750ml with friends. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: Screech, from “Saved by the Bell,” was the only one of the characters who played in all the episodes from the junior high, with Mrs. Bliss, to “Saved by the Bell: The New Class.”

North Coast Brewing Company Old Rasputin Imperial Stout (365 Day 118)

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

North Coast Old Rasputin

Winter seems to be hanging on a little longer here in the Midwest than any of us would like. After a taste of 50, even 60 degree days, we were back to the 30s with the temperature slowly climbing all week. Supposedly the weekend it going to bring 50s (the normal temperature around here this time of year) but, of course, rain. Maybe that is a sign to the type of season the Cubs will have this year. 😉

These cold, crappy days always draw me towards bigger beers. I just have to remember to not eat so much before said craving. Usually the next big step is deciding which stout or porter will fit the profile for the evening.

For some reason Old Rasputin Imperial Stout by North Coast Brewing Company called my name quite quickly. The bottle I opened was a 2009 bottle that my Mom had given to me as a Christmas present in 2009. Yeah, each year she gives me beer and she is getting better and better at it.

Old Rasputin is everything you look for in a Russian Imperial Stout (RIS). It is big, bold, but not too sweet. Many RIS beers use so much grain that the beer becomes a cloying mess. This one has good balance and, possibly, the one flaw, is a bit too much roasted/burnt malt. Nonetheless a solid beer that should be on your list of beers to have. Enjoy!

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

Useless Fact: Women blink nearly twice as much as men.

Lakefront Brewery Fuel Cafe (365 Day 117)

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Lakefront Fuel Cafe

Sometimes an American craft beer on a Sunday is warranted after a weekend of hard work in the yard and/or around the house. Other times, like this Sunday for me, that I was exhausted after a day of home brewing and weekend of in-laws, causing me to be less than ready for a beer.

Unfortunately Fuel Cafe by Lakefront Brewery was the beer chosen for review #117. I sort of felt sorry for it as I knew I wasn’t in the mood.

In spite of that, I found the beer to be on solid ground: nothing earth shattering great about but definitely nothing wrong with the beer either. I would put it in the average category and thought that maybe the coffee should be more pronounced. The bottle I had though was four months old and I don’t know if coffee aroma/flavor starts to fall out as quickly or quicker than hops. Either way I would have it again and liked the creaminess. Enjoy!

Aroma: 6, Taste: 8, Look: 9, Drinkability: 7, Overall: 7.3

Useless Fact: Denver, Colorado lays claim to the invention of the cheeseburger.

Goose Island Beer Company Bourbon County Brand Stout 2008 (365 Day 116)

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout

I know I just recently had this Bourbon County Brand Stout but I thought having another that was two years older than the other tasting would be okay as the beer changes a lot over those two plus years of cellaring.

Since I am trying to clarify this version of the Bourbon County Brand Stout by Goose Island Brewing Company as different, I guess it makes sense to explain how I feel they are different.

Just like a good wine, a good beer will age over time and age well. The key to aging it keeping the beer dark and cool, usually in your basement. The 2008 version has 2.5 years to appreciate my fine basement. Over that time some of the sharp alcohol has depreciated as has the bourbon and molasses. The result is a beer that is much more mellow, has more dark fruit notes, and even carries a sense of earth with it. Just as complex and tasty as 2010 but in a different manner. The beer is different except for having a Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout lablel on the outside. Enjoy!

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

Useless Fact: In Chinese, the words “crisis” and “opportunity” are the same.

Founders Brewing Company Nemesis 2010 (365 Day 115)

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Founders Nemesis 2010

This Friday night found me extremely tired as the sleep study I did earlier in the week was kicking my butt and it is extremely difficult to catch up on sleep when you don’t sleep well. So I was off to never-never land by 8:00pm with only a single beverage; an off Friday evening.

Nemesis 2010 by Founders Brewing Company is their annual release. Of course, being from Founders, this is a highly sought after and touted release, making it difficult to get and probably one that will continue to get harder to find per the recent release of Kentucky Breakfast Stout.

2010 was much better than 2009. I almost couldn’t stand the 2009 which is a shames based on said difficulty and not mentioned cost of the beers. I actually ended up giving most of them away but have proudly held onto the 2010 version. I believe I still have about three left in the cellar. Until the next chase for Founders ensue, cheers. Enjoy!

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

Useless Fact: The word “set” has more definitions than any other word in the English language.

Half Acre Beer Company Double Daisy Cutter (365 Day 114)

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Half Acre Double Daisy Cutter

Thursday night brings out the quality American craft beers in droves. Last night I supplied the beer from a recent transaction that netted me a bunch of west coast, specifically Oregon, IPAs. We wanted to try them together and have the entire crew together to taste: Rich, Steve, Chuck, and myself.

The NCAAs were on, so the night lasted longer than usual, with me eventually pulling Consecration by Russian River and Barrel Aged Blackout Stout by Great Lakes Brewing Company up out of the cellar to keep our palates happy and amused until basketball was finished.

Both of those beers are crazy good but the earlier IPAs were more hit and miss. It seemed that several might have had a bit of age on them and the supposed large hop profile became merely an after thought to a beer that was more malt forward. Some had fallen so badly that the beer became quite resinous.

Double Daisy Cutter by Half Acre Beer Company was the first beer of the evening and is actually out of Chicago as I thought it would make a good warm up beer to those “big” west coast IPAs. To be honest, it was the best IPA on the evening, beating those west coast flunkies to a pulp. 😉

Double Daisy Cutter has only been brewed twice, that I know of, I am hoping they will brew it again and again and again. If they do I am going to try and grab more than a singular bottle in the future. Outstanding stuff. Enjoy!

Aroma: 10, Taste: 10, Look: 8, Drinkability: 8, Overall: 9.0

Useless Fact: The cruise liner, Queen Elizabeth II, moves only 6 inches (15 cm) for each gallon of diesel that it burns.

Cigar City Brewing Capricho Oscuro Batch #4 (365 Day 113)

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Cigar City Capricho Oscuro Batch #4

Certain breweries pop to mind very quickly when talking about some of the best and/or up and coming American craft breweries. I think that Cigar City Brewing is past the point of up and coming: they are known by everyone. They have established themselves as a brewery that makes some solid beers with a few strange mixes and the desire to travel down the path less traveled (thank you Robert Frost).

In spite of all this hysteria surrounding the brewery, I have been very slow to achieve the same happiness with their beers as most of their fans. One of the first beers I had by them was Winter Warmer Warmer Winter, if stated that right, and I didn’t even grade it on the site I was so disappointed in the beer. I followed that up with a Jai Alai IPA which was quite decent but then came along the humidor series of the same beer: Jai Alai Humidor Series. That beer did absolutely nothing for me, it actually made me decide that Cigar City was on the avoid list.

I avoided them like the plague until I did Secret Santa and received some seven or more flavors of Cigar City beer. Yuck I believe was my first impression.

I have slowly been conquering these beers and each one seems to be better than the last with Capricho Oscuro Batch #4, beer #113, being the best of the pack. My group of friends may still think of them on the negative side, but I am a convert and welcome the chance for any solid offering from Cigar City. Enjoy!

Aroma: 10, Taste: 10, Look: 10, Drinkability: 8, Overall: 9.3

Useless Fact: The first female monster to appear on the big screen was Bride of Frankenstein.

Central Waters Brewing Company Bourbon Barrel Stout (365 Day 112)

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Stout

Every American craft beer lover probably has a niche in his heart for bourbon and/or wood aged beers. Some of these beers can be subtle while others can be over the top, slap your ass in the face bourbon dominated. There are others that have wild yeast added to help bring out the sour flavors and aromas. While, still others add beer to wine barrels to bring out he idiosyncrasies for a good wine.

Central Waters Brewing Company makes some highly sought after bourbon aged beers: Cherry Stout, Bourbon Barrel Stout, and Bourbon Barrel Barleywine. Each one is produced on a seasonal basis, distributed in Wisconsin, and not on the shelves all that long. I have no idea of the distribution numbers but they cannot be that high.

Bourbon Barrel Stout is beer number 112. The smoothness of this beer is ridiculous. There is a great balance between the beer itself and the bourbon barrel aging, creating a solid presentation that in spite of the 9.5% ABV, I could drink it all day long. Enjoy!

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

Useless Fact: Strawberries have more vitamin C in them than oranges.

21st Amendment Brewery Brew Free Or Die IPA (365 Day 111)

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

21st Amendment Brew Free Or Die IPA

Usually every night after work, I am thinking about the tasty American craft beer I will knock down. Last night I had arrangements to go for a sleep study. Yep, the wife has been asking me to go get tested for a long time, more because she is worried about me than anything else. At least that’s what I am led to believe. 😉

I only had about 40 minutes to get myself ready and my belongings together for an evening at the lovely sleep hotel. I had to find a solid brew in a short time and get out the door. I figured something light, easy drinking, and hopefully refreshing would be a perfect sample.

Brew Free Or Die IPA by 21st Amendment Brewery quickly caught my eye and became suspect number 111.

Brew Free is an American IPA that is supposed to have a nice hop aroma and flavor that in neither of the cans I have had the chance of having seemed to be missing. In spite of this, I would still like to get a chance at a fresh can as I believe this beer would be well above average tasted and appreciated in that form. Enjoy!

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

Useless Fact: The largest known butterfly is Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing from New Guinea, which has a wingspan of approximately 11 inches (28 cm). The smallest butterfly, the Dwarf Blue from Africa, has a wingspan of only 1/2 inches (1 cm).