Archive for September, 2011

The Alchemist Pub & Brewery Heady Topper (365 Day 303)

Friday, September 30th, 2011

The Alchemist Heady Topper

It has been a while that the Tuesday Night Beer Club (TNBC) crew has had a chance to get together. It was also nice to have Mark in from his east coast digs.

I didn’t have a bunch of time to hang out because of a promise to my kids to tuck them in as I have been working some long hours. I can never ignore requests like that as I know it won’t be long before my kids won’t want me to be at their bed side each evening. I have to appreciate each and every one of them.

Back to beer…

I brought over a fresh can of Heady Topper (thank you Matt) by The Alchemist Pub & Brewery. Before my early exit, I coxed everyone into trying this fine American craft beer. It was a bit warm from being in my car all day in spite of being in Ed’s mini fridge for 15 minutes. The aroma of the pine and hop resin hit the nose and doesn’t apologize. Darn tasty with a hook of bitterness in the finish. Light body for an American Double IPA. Three more cans to go. Now that’s a good thing. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: Until 1893, lynching was legal in the United States. The first anti-lynching law was passed in Georgia, but it only made the violation punishable by four years in prison.

Dark Horse Brewing Company Fore Smoked Stout (365 Day 302)

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Dark Horse Fore Smoked Stout

I originally reviewed Fore Smoked Stout by Dark Horse Brewing Company before I switched the grading system from the single 10 point system to the four category system that is currently in place. The four category system allows more flexibility in grading.

No matter what I do or how I change the grading system on the site, I don’t like smokey beers. Peat, ash, generic smoke, etc isn’t what I like to taste in my beer. In spite of Fore being in the cellar for a good year, there was still some smokey qualities, not as much as there is fresh, but enough to know. Knowing there is less smoke in the taste made me enjoy this beer more than I did close to two years ago. Solid but that is going out on a limb for my taste buds.

I do have a few more smokey American craft beers in the cellar that will be shared with friends because I don’t want to hog for myself. Enjoy!

Aroma: 7 (25%), Taste: 7 (25%), Look: 7 (15%), Drinkability: 7 (35%), Overall: 7.0

Useless Fact: The Japanese have a special method for growing superb melons. They plant a seed, allow it to sprout and form buds, then pick all the buds but one. This one bud is allowed to mature into a full fruit. In this way a single fruit receives all the nutrients originally meant for the whole plant. The result is a remarkably succulent melon.

Wolaver’s Alta Gracia Coffee Porter (365 Day 301)

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter

Continuing the saga of mis-cellared American craft beers, we arrive at beer number 301: Wolaver’s Alta Gracia Coffee Porter. Once grabbing the bottle from the cellar, noticing the 5.0% ABV, noticing the organic makeup, and that this was a coffee porter, I thought this beer was going to on the brutal side. 5.0% ABV isn’t the level that is equated with cellaring. Organic ingredients are usually make me think of quicker to spoil. And coffee usually seems to fall out of a beer quite quickly.

I was in for pleasant surprise. Alta Garcia was a solid beer all around. Aroma, taste, and body all seem to fit the beer well. The coffee was still in the beer, making me think that the fresh beer could really be influenced by the coffee. This version though was well balanced and subtlety complex. Enjoy!

Aroma: 9 (25%), Taste: 9 (25%), Look: 10 (15%), Drinkability: 9 (35%), Overall: 9.2

Useless Fact: In one year, hens in America lay enough eggs to encircle the globe a hundred times.

Lafayette Brewing Company Black Angus Oatmeal Stout (365 Day 300)

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

lafayette black angus oatmeal stout

I don’t follow the numbers so I didn’t even realize that Black Angus Oatmeal Stout by Lafayette Brewing Company was going to be American craft beer 300.

In my haste to add this beer to my cellar, a while ago, I never noticed that the bottle says to keep it refrigerated. After eight months or more in the cellar it never once reached a the temperature mentioned by the brewers on the bottle. I guess a combination of the cellaring and maybe a bad cap made this beer infected. Yep, tons of foam, not much beer, and a hint of off aromas/flavors.

I decided not to grade the beer since I really wasn’t able to taste or smell what was originally intended. I can’t wait until I get these non-cellarable beers out of my cellar. I just love doing dumb things. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: A marine catfish can taste with any part of its body. The female marine catfish hatches her eggs in her mouth.

The Bruery and Lawson’s Finest Liquids Acer Quercus (365 Day 299)

Monday, September 26th, 2011

The Bruery and Lawson's Finest Liquids Acer Quercus

I wish I had more family that lived in American craft beer hotspots that were willing to allow me to appreciate beer from their nape of the neck. Russ, my most excellent cousin from California, is an American craft beer convert and frequently goes out of his way to try new beers while teasing me with photos from his excursion. The good news is there is usually beer for me surrounding those side trips.

The most recent netted me several different bottles of The Bruery beers that I cannot get locally. Because the beers are all in 750ml bottles, I try to wait for a weekend were I have some time to put that much liquid into my belly.

Acer Quercus is a collaboration beer with Lawyson’s Finest Liquids that has been aged on oak cubes. Exactly my type of beer. The 9.5% alcohol weighs in lightly but when you down the 750 in less than 45 minutes, it weighs heavy on your feet tingling. I really liked this beer but thought the aroma could have used a boost. Nonetheless worth your time and taste buds. Enjoy!

Aroma: 7 (25%), Taste: 10 (25%), Look: 10 (15%), Drinkability: 9 (35%), Overall: 8.9

Useless Fact: Greyhounds have the best eyesight of any breed of dog.

Two Brother Brewing Company Cane and Ebel (365 Day 298)

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Two Brothers Cane and Ebel

It isn’t often that the wife and I get a chance to spend an evening on our own. The plan was to see a move (Moneyball – wife’s choice, she used to work in minor league baseball), dinner, and a few drinks. The latter two accomplished by a visit to Two Brothers Brewing Company. We had grander plans but a long day of kids soccer curtailed those thoughts.

Two Brothers is an all but too infrequent of a stop. I am glad the wife suggested. The food is always good (although the buffalo chicken I had made me sweat for an hour), the service is solid, and the beers are darn tasty.

I have had Cane and Ebel before, on many occasions, but I have never reviewed on the site; this tasting didn’t break the mold. There is a nice hop assertiveness that pairs well with the rye that comes through. Both balance the crystal malt sweetness well. Next time I will have to officially review as it is a solid year round offering. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: Lobsters do feel pain when boiled alive. By soaking them in salt water before cooking, however, you can anesthetize them.

Allagash Brewing Company Coolship Red (365 Day 297)

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Allagash Brewing Company

I don’t have time to really follow the happenings in American craft beer for the entire United States. That’s the main reason I try to keep it local. There is enough cool stuff going on in the Midwest that I cannot attend, why worry about even more.

I have mentioned a transaction partner from Maine before. He sent me a bottle of Coolship Red by Allagash Brewing Company several weeks back. I really didn’t realize the low production of this brew, so I am more than happy to have a chance to review for American craft beer 297 of 365.

Coolship Red has something fantastic about from the very beginning. The pink-red hue to the pour brings the raspberries right to the forefront. Tart, hay, raspberries, and an acidic lemony profile bring about thought of a gueze. A really solid beer that is good now, ageing would only bring on more complexity. Enjoy!

Aroma: 9 (25%), Taste: 9 (25%), Look: 8 (15%), Drinkability: 9 (35%), Overall: 8.9

Useless Fact:

Sprecher Brewing Company Barley Wine (365 Day 296)

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Sprecher Barley Wine

I always try find something positive and good in each American craft beer that I review. There are even certain breweries, especially local, that I will go out of my way to try their beers even if some don’t make me all that happy.

I guess I should also state that I guess I am part American craft beer snob. I only want to taste the best. With the cost of craft beers, that should be the simplest form of motivation for bypassing certain beers and breweries.

With all that out of the way, I have had quite a few flavors of Sprecher Brewing Company, I even took a brewery hop early this year, and no matter how hard I try, outside of some of their barrel aged beers, I can’t find anything much better than average.

Barley Wine falls smack dab into that description. There are some really loose ends to the beer that put me off, particularly the high sugars that made me think of one of their soda pops.

I wish Sprecher all the luck in the world and still really appreciate their root beer, I just can’t find myself purchasing this beer again with my hard earned money. Enjoy!

Aroma: 7 (25%), Taste: 6 (25%), Look: 9 (15%), Drinkability: 5 (35%), Overall: 6.4

Useless Fact: Termites are not related to ants. They are part of the cockroach family.

Arbor Brewing Company Espresso Love Breakfast Stout (365 Day 295)

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Arbor Espresso Love Breakfast Stout

When I was originally building up the American craft beer in my cellar (once again my basement), I used reckless abandon to add anything down there that just looked like it could cellar. Oh, you are a stout, in the cellar. Oh, you are Belgian, in the cellar. And so it went. Also, at that time, I was making a lot of American craft beer transactions to be “cool” like everyone else: I needed more beer in my basement, dammit. Actually, I just wanted to try every beer under the sun that was brewed in the United States. My thoughts quickly our ran my ability to keep up with my mouth or my wallet. The last few beers are paying for my haste and craziness.

Espresso Love Breakfast Stout by Arbor Brewing Company is one those beers that was put into the cellar just because. Such a horrible way to categorize. Live and learn.

Espresso Love has some solid qualities but there is something that just isn’t right. This could be from the cellaring. After thinking about the “offness” to the beer, it could be some paper or similar qualities that develop when a beer gets some oxidation. Of course this threw off the entire beer and without past knowledge I really can’t copare the aged version to anything but what I expect from the style. Based on that reasoning, the low score. Enjoy!

Aroma: 5 (25%), Taste: 6 (25%), Look: 7 (15%), Drinkability: 4 (35%), Overall: 5.2

Useless Fact: There are sand dunes in Arcachon, France, that are 360 feet high.

Flying Fish Brewing Company Exit 4 (365 Day 294)

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Flying Fish Exit 4

Every time I get a new American craft beer I wait for a sunny day and snap a picture of the beer with the idea it will eventually end up on the Two Beer Dudes site. Obviously some beers make their down to the cellar for an extended stay which strangely enough creates a bit of dilemma: there is the fact that I only have one of some beers and should I drink it now or drink it later. I have nothing to compare that cellared beer to (18 plus months). What did it taste like fresh?

The thing that pisses me off more than anything is pulling a beer out of the cellar, as I did with Exit 4 by Flying Fish Brewing Company, and being able to find the damn picture. Since I couldn’t find the picture and I was in a somewhat bad mood (long day at work that just tired me out), I didn’t feel like reviewing the beer on the site.

This will be a mental regurgitation (no funny remarks). The pour was slightly cloudy from the yeast cake from the bottle of the bottle with a inch of pure white foam. Thick, white foam hung on the glass like my grandmother hung doilies on her couches. The aroma was mute with a dank/musty scent being about the only essence emitted. The taste was much fuller: dark fruits mixed with paler fruits came through. Of course a bit of yeast, alcohol, and a touch of spice could be noticed. A nice drinking beer that I need a picture of and another serving. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: The University of Calcutta has 175,000 students.