Archive for June, 2011

Russian River Brewing Company Salvation (365 Day 201)

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Russian River Salvation

Father’s Day! Probably my favorite day of the year to celebrate myself as I get treated like a king around the house. How else should a king act then to appreciate the fine confines held with a bottle of American craft beer.

It didn’t take a long look at the cellar to make it apparent that something from Russian River Brewing Company would have to grace my glass. I had never had Salvation before. With it staring me right in the eyes, how could I resist?

Salvation, a Belgian Dark Strong Ale, was full of candy sugar, yeast, spice, dark fruits, and the burn from alcohol. Usually Russian River beers are very well kept in hiding alcohol levels but I thought Salvation did not, taking away from the delightfulness I was planning on having with this beer. I also believe this style isn’t my cup of perfection. I would have it again but there are many other beers from Russian River I would have before this one. Enjoy!

Aroma: 8, Taste: 8, Look: 9, Drinkability: 7, Overall: 7.8

Useless Fact: During World War I the punishment for homosexuality in the French army was execution. If the offender was an officer he was allowed a final charge against the enemy on the understanding that he would get himself shot.

Yazoo Brewing Company Hefeweizen (365 Day 200)

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Yazoo Hefeweizen

American craft beer number 200 of 365! Yeah. Celebration done. I will do another short lived one for 300 and then officially be completely happy once I hit 365. Having a beer for me is no where near a chore but always coming up with one that is different from the rest as well as making me happy on a long day after work, gives it some complications. Yes, day 365 will be welcomed.

My first beer from Yazoo Brewing Company is simply named Hefeweizen. As soon as I hear that name or hear that a beer is associated with the Hefeweizen style my excitement level goes up a notch as it did with this beer from Yazoo.

Hefeweizen has some good qualities that I appreciate in both the nose and taste: yeast, wheat, and clove as well as a nice lemon grass hop aroma. I found it to really be missing banana completely and, after a period of time in the glass, it started to lose everything but the wheat and yeast. That wasn’t horrible but it made me begin to wonder if this beer received in a transaction was all that fresh. I still enjoyed the beer and the beginning led me to believe they had a solid offering. Hopefully I can try one on tap some day. Enjoy!

Aroma: 6, Taste: 6, Look: 9, Drinkability: 9, Overall: 7.5

Useless Fact: Fashionable women in medieval Japan gilded or blackened their teeth. Today many Hindu women in India stain their teeth bright red to enhance their appearance.

Sebago Brewing Company Bourbon Barrel Aged Lake Trout Stout (365 Day 199)

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

Sebago Bourbon Barrel Aged Lake Trout Stout

I have been eying Bourbon Barrel Aged Lake Trout Stout by Sebago Brewing Company for a while now. It has been sitting in the cellar for a year plus and for the last month I have kept looking at it wondering when the right day would come. It seems like American craft beer number 199 was the right time.

Lake Trout has some really nice stout elements: coffee, chocolate, and roasted malts give this beer a solid back bone to rest on. The bourbon barrel aging add subtle complexities of bourbon, oak, and vanilla. Molasses, some booze, and bitterness in the finish add even more layering.

I really think they year probably did this beer good. If you have one in your cellar don’t hesitate to appreciate now. Enjoy!

Aroma: 9, Taste: 8, Look: 10, Drinkability: 8, Overall: 8.6

Useless Fact: One has to eat 11 pounds of potatoes to put on 1 pound of weight—a potato has no more calories than an apple. The potato was not known in Europe until the seventeenth century, when it was introduced by returning Spanish conquistadors. At first potatoes were thought disgusting and were blamed for starting outbreaks of leprosy and syphilis. As late as 1720 in America eating potatoes was believed to shorten a person’s life.

Bootlegger’s Brewery Knuckle Sandwich (365 Day 198)

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Bootlegger's Knuckle Sandwich

Going down into the cellar and finding an American IPA that I didn’t know I had creates both joy and fear. Joy obviously because I have the chance to have another American craft beer in my favorite style (one of my multitude of favorite styles). Feat as I wonder how long said beer has been sitting in the cellar as IPAs are not cellaring beers, they are drinking beers.

So with excitement and trepidation I put Knuckle Sandwich by Bootlegger’s Brewery into the fridge to get it cold for Chuck and I. The only two that could make this week’s Thursday night get together.

Since I didn’t know the age of the beer or if it was a short release, I decided to search the web for some hints. Based on what I found the beer had last been bottled in late March. Doing quick math it didn’t take long to know this beer was going to be past the prime of its youth. A bit of worry overcame me as I had heard good things about this beer and didn’t want to have to endure a resinous melt down.

The hops had fallen some but this beer seemed so well put together that it didn’t really affect the experience. Grapefruit and pine hops were still noticeable with the grapefruit really punching through in the finish, leaving a bitter edge. Caramel malts were the backbone, keeping pace with the huge hop additions.

Per any old IPA, I know want a fresh bottle with a pint on tap being optimal. Until that happens I will have my review to remind of an indulgence still to come. Enjoy!

Aroma: 9, Taste: 8, Look: 9, Drinkability: 9, Overall: 8.8

Useless Fact: In 1060 a coin was minted in England shaped like a clover. The user could break off any of the four leaves and use them as separate pieces of currency.

Tommyknocker Brewery & Pub Hop Srike Black IPA (365 Day 197)

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Tommyknocker Hop Strike Black IPA

It has been a while but I managed to find an American craft beer that is an ipa and it isn’t named just “IPA.” Hop Strike Black IPA by Tommyknocker Brewery & Pub is a Rye beer but the title says that it is an IPA, so damn close enough.

I found this beer to be well balanced. There was enough sweet, dark, rye, hops, and aftertaste that kept me wanting more. Each of the aspects of this beer shown through but never over shadowing another, each knowing their place and knowing it well. The rye comes through towards the finish along with hops and chocolate flavors which, combined, bring the sense of a creaminess to the beer. Enjoy!

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

Useless Fact: Approximately 80 percent of the men serving terms in American prisons for rape were convicted not of forcible rape but of statutory rape, that is, of fornicating with a girl who is underage.

Sweetwater Brewing Company IPA (365 Day 196)

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Sweetwater IPA

Another day down, another American craft beer with the simple name of “IPA“. This time said beer is from Sweetwater Brewing Company. The good news is that each of these beers has their own personality which means their only connection is via name.

Sweetwater IPA has a nice citrus, herbal, and earth hop profile that comes through in both the nose and taste. The rest of the beer is what you would expect in an IPA: sweet caramel malts, light or better body, and about the same carbonation. Back to the hops. Having an American craft beer that makes your mind race wondering how the combination of hops was decided upon, is fun reviewing for me. Being a home brewer I tend to fall back to things I know and not venture to far off the beaten path. I will have to tinker a bit to make my own unique profile.

Solid all the way around, Sweetwater IPA is a beer that should be on your list, especially if you like IPAs. Enjoy!

Aroma: 8, Taste: 8, Look: 9, Drinkability: 9, Overall: 8.5

Useless Fact: In seventeenth-century Japan, no citizen was allowed to leave the country on penalty of death. Anyone caught coming or going without permission was executed on the spot.

Back Forty Beer Company Naked Pig Pale Ale (365 Day 195)

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Back Forty Naked Pig Pale Ale

One day after reviewing my first American craft beer from Alabama, I was firing up beer number two. This time the beer was Naked Pig Pale Ale and it was brewed by Back Forty Beer Company.

Unfortunately it didn’t come with the same results as yesterday’s. I don’t like to rip beers as I know how much work, planning, and effort goes into a beer, especially on that level, as I home brew and I know what it takes to do a five gallon batch. I always tell people to tell me the truth because I want to get better, so in this case I hope my words come across as points of improvement, not belittling or condemning.

Naked Pig would rate higher in all low categories if there was some sense of balance. The beer seemed to go from mildly sweet to obnoxiously bitter without much in between, while the bitterness hung on. I must also add that the born on date looked like it could have been from March, a good three month ago. If this is the case, then most of what I was getting was a beer that has lost its freshness in hops, which means I have to try it again fresh. Enjoy!

Aroma: 6, Taste: 5, Look: 8, Drinkability: 4, Overall: 5.4

Useless Fact: The nasturtium derives its name from the Latin nasus (“nose”) tortum (“to twist”). The flower’s smell is so powerful that to inhale it was considered tantamount to having one’s nose tweaked.

Good People Brewing Company IPA (365 Day 194)

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Good People IPA

Getting close. Beer number 194 was from Alabama. IPA by Good People Brewing Company helps me get the number of states I need an American craft beer down to single digits. Yes, that is correct, nine state are left. I know the last nine will be more difficult than the first 41 but I already feel a sense of accomplishment.

As I was opening IPA there were thoughts going through my head of “What would an IPA from Alabama taste like?” I didn’t end up with pleasant or satisfying mental answers. After all, it is Alabama, what can they know about brewing?

I have to start off by saying “Sorry!” I was completely wrong. “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” (Enough with the damn quotes already.)

Good people make a solid offering here that, if you did a blind taste test, would believe that beer came from somewhere on or around the west coast. Pine and citrus hops balance with caramel malt to yield one outstanding liquid experience.

This beer has given me a dilemma: how to convince the wife we need to take a vacation to Alabama. Enjoy!

Aroma: 9, Taste: 9, Look: 10, Drinkability: 9, Overall: 9.2

Useless Fact: When attacked, the petrel, a giant bird of the Antarctic, repels its enemies either by regurgitating food in their faces or by squirting a jet of viscous oil from its nostrils with a force great enough to knock down a person.

Port Brewing Company 5th Anniversary (365 Day 193)

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Port Anniversary Ale

Anniversary beers always seem a bit gimmicky to me. The beers seem to be some type of test batch that has extra spice added to give a twist to a particular style. In my opinion, not the finest of American craft beer moments.

Rich and family were over last night and he brought a bottle of Anniversary Ale from Port Brewing Company to share on the evening. I have to admit I was suspect up front because of past expectations and experiences with Anniversary beers. I am so happy that my expectations were not lived up to. Anniversary Ale has big helpings of grapefruit hops that show through in each facet of the beer. The aroma and bitter finish went well with the Mexican food my wife cooked up for dinner.

My mind hasn’t changed about Anniversary ales but I definitely will be back for more of this one by Port. Why can’t other American craft breweries relax a little on their Anniversary ales and make something so easy to appreciate? Enjoy!

Useless Fact: The White Shark has teeth that rank on a scale of hardness with steel, is the only creature in the sea with no natural enemies; even killer whales normally avoid it, can survive brain damage better than any animal in the world, never gets sick. It has mysterious antibodies that give it immunity to practically every known bacterial invader. It is also one of the few animals known to be completely immune to cancer, can hear sounds a mile away, and is always hungry; no matter how much it eats, its appetite is never satisfied—it lives in a state of continual hunger.

Buckbean Brewing Company Tule Duck Red Ale (365 Day 192)

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Buckbean Tule Duck Red Ale

If you follow the blog at all you know that next to Thursday, I look forward to some quality American craft beer on Friday’s. The end of the week deserves fine refreshment. The other side of the coin is when I wait all week for liquid goodness only to be disappointed by the selection for the evening. Unfortunately the latter found its way into my glass.

Tule Duck Red Ale by Buckbean Brewing Company marks my first beer from Nevada. Tule Duck is a huge, sweet malt bomb. There is some bitterness for balance but the strange thing is the cherry tartness to the beer that just doesn’t seem well placed. Enjoy!

Aroma: 8, Taste: 6, Look: 9, Drinkability: 6, Overall: 7.0

Useless Fact: A rat can go without water longer than a camel can.