Posts Tagged ‘bell’s brewery’

Thursday Night American Craft Beer Tastings

Friday, March 9th, 2012
pretty things beer and ale project babayaga

Pretty Things Babayaga

Our Thursday night get together was light one participant, Chuck, but the rest of us picked up his slack. We plowed our way through five beers with a focus on stouts. It wasn’t planned that way, it is just the way that it came together.

The list (in the order the beers participated):

A mighty fine lineup of beers. Hopslam is starting to use the luster of the hops while the malt backbone is coming forward. Babayaga is interesting to say the least. Complex aromas and flavors that aren’t typically together in one beer. Ursa Minor is damn easy to drink and my first try at a weizen stout. B.O.R.I.S. was probably a bit young (date: 2011-12-29), making it a touch hot. I think aging would make this beer round out nicer. Founders was served way to cold. Letting it warm a bit brought the level of the drink up a bit but it wasn’t that beer that I remembered in the past.

Hopefully next week we can have the full group on hand. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: A queen bee may lay as many as 3,000 eggs in a single day.

Bell’s Brewery Two Hearted Ale

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

retro christmast party

The annual work Christmas gathering is a good time. Appetizers abound and the so do the drinks. We have it at a local place named Jak’s. They serve up some rockin’ solid food and have an above average American craft beer tap list. There are usually at least 20 American craft beers on tap from all over the Midwest with some from the fringes of the coasts. I would never say their tap lists competes with the “hot spots” for American craft beer but holds it own while catering to trying to convert the macro people.

By the time I left work, there was a server timing issue, I only had an hour at the party before I had to head out to the “local to work” home brew shop. I had to pick up some supplies for the Hefeweizen that I am brewing for a work Holiday party in late January that the wife and I are hosting.

In my brief appearance, Two Hearted Ale by Bell’s Brewery, Inc, caught my eye. I hadn’t had it in a while, which is shameful of me, so I thought that I could have it at the pinnacle of taste and aroma: on tap. Two glasses later I had reconfirmed that Two Hearted is one of the best year round American IPAs that is brewed in the Midwest and can hold it’s own against the entire nation.

Citrus and floral hops jump out of the glass while balancing a sweet caramel malt backbone. Two Hearted is in perfect harmony, easy drinking, and refreshing. It is definitely a year round beer that can even be appreciated by non hop heads. Enjoy!

Aroma: 9 (25%), Taste: 9 (25%), Look: 9 (15%), Drinkability: 9 (35%), Overall: 9.0

Useless Fact: Rhubarb is named after the Volga River. In Greek the name of Volga is Rha, and barb means “uncultivated.” Rhubarb is thus a wild plant that grows along the Volga.

Bell’s Brewery Expedition Stout

Thursday, December 8th, 2011
bell's brewery, inc. expedition stout

Bell's Expedition Stout

As I get further away from events in my life, especially time spent with old friends, the more strained those relationships become. Having a family keeps my free time occupied, especially now that they are involved in sports. Receiving a phone call from an old friend is really appreciated. Erik, a friend from high school, beach bum buddy in college, and a basketball friend throughout my 20s dropped me a line for the first time in a couple of years (I am guilty for not calling him either). After catching up on each others families we realized that we work a little over a mile from each other and lunch is in store in a week or two.

It has been a while since I had an Expidition Stout by Bell’s Brewery. Specifically it has been about two years, if not more. I was at a local beer store recently which sold singles (my favorite) and I noticed Expedition Stout, how could I pass up a single bottle.

The beer is still a bit bright with alcohol aroma and flavor. The aroma almost burns the nose hairs while roasted malt is the focus of the aroma that is slight over all. The taste carries the roast that transitions to a an ashy or burnt flavor before the alcohol takes over. A bit above average but I think this could be much better, becoming complex with a couple of years of age. Enjoy!

Aroma: 7 (25%), Taste: 8 (25%), Look: 9 (15%), Drinkability: 7 (35%), Overall: 7.6

Useless Fact: Verdi wrote the opera Aida at the request of the khedive of Egypt to commemorate the opening of the Suez Canal.

Bell’s Brewery The Oracle DIPA Ale (365 Day 307)

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Bell's The Oracle

The ever passage of time continues to bring the seasons, which are closely attached to American craft beer seasonal releases. Depending on the time of the year, some seasonals are more warranted than others. I am not much of a fan of pumpkin beers or oktoberfest beers. But, the best part, not all seasonal releases go along with the season. The beer is just released at that time of the year.

The Oracle by Bell’s Brewery fits the latter. The is a big American Double IPA that has a ton of hops and hop resins that take over the beer. This beer is not shy about being over the top hop aromas, flavors, and bitterness. A bit more unbalanced than I preferred but I keep coming back each year. Enjoy!

Aroma: 9 (25%), Taste: 9 (25%), Look: 9 (15%), Drinkability: 9 (35%), Overall: 9.0

Useless Fact: The champagne used to christen a ship is a substitute for human blood. In bygone times the Vikings and various South Sea tribes sacrificed human beings on the prows of their ships so that the spirits of the murdered victims would guard the craft. Later wine was substituted for blood, and, in our day, champagne for wine.

Bell’s Brewery Batch 9000 (365 Day 274)

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Bell's Batch 9000

It has been about sixteen months since I first reviewed Batch 9000 by Bell’s Brewery, Inc.. Since then Batch 10,000 has come and gone. Bell’s has also scrapped the “Batch” series of beers going forward. They produce so much damn American craft beer that it wasn’t taking them all that long between 1000th releases.

Batch 9000 has aged admirably with a lot of the licorice fading into a nice chocolate. The alcohol is still there and a little abrasive until the palate finds solace after a few sips. I have a few more left in the cellar so it will be interesting to see how this beer continues to develop. Enjoy!

Aroma: 9 (25%), Taste: 9 (25%), Look: 9 (15%), Drinkability: 9 (35%), Overall: 9.0

Useless Fact: In 1920 Socialist Eugene Debs received 920,000 votes for president of the United States. Yet he ran his entire campaign while in jail.

Bell’s Brewery, Inc Oberon (365 Day 180)

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Bell's Oberon

Nothing says summer like a pint of Oberon by Bell’s Brewery, Inc.. Rich’s middle son had his graduation party and Rich thought it would be a great idea to just have a keg of Oberon on tap. Great thought! Needless to say i9t was it up pretty hard and I would be surprised if any survived the evening.

Oberon is an awesome cross-over beer that just about anyone loves, especially with a nice piece of orange dashed in there to add some citrus complexity. Rich and I believe that the beer has changed over the years, allowing it to become an easier cross-over beer. We even asked the head chemist at the 25th Anniversary celebration, replying that it was true. We started noticing the change several years ago when Oberon started popping up in local grocery chains. I will never know the true reason why they changed the recipe (I thought it had more natural citrus but is now more dry wheat forward than the past) but I really think it was to appeal to more people, this may be toeing the line, but to bring down cost.

On tap Oberon fits the needs of a palate that has thirst; over and over again. Rich even busted out some KBS and Dark Lord as the evening wore on, adding to the winner group of beers. I only have to wait another three years for his next son to graduate. Enjoy!

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

Useless Fact:

Bell’s Two Hearted Ale (365 Day 66)

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Bell's Two Hearted Ale

Choosing a good American craft beer to review each evening can sometimes be a difficult task. The task raises up a notch when you have a cold. Yes, unbelievably for the second time since I started 365 American craft beers in 365 days, I have a cold. I hit the cold pretty hard yesterday, which is when it started, trying to nip it in the bud before it became a crazy, outrageous four or five day cold. I actually feel better today than I would have imagined but I don’t want to jinx myself.

Two Hearted Ale by Bell’s was the lucky participant last evening. As I stated, I really didn’t get much from the nose outside of a touch of citrus hops, in spite of the nose being clear. The taste, ugh, not much. These colds are starting to piss me off. I can tell you this, Two Hearted Ale, is one outstanding IPA. Make sure to get it fresh and fancy it often. Enjoy!

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

Useless Fact: Only about one ninth of the mass of an iceberg is visible above the water. Nearly all its bulk remains hidden beneath the surface.

Bell’s Batch 10000 (365 Day 13)

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Bell's Brewery, Inc. Batch 10000

It is amazing how quickly that Bell’s pumps out batches of American craft beer. It seems that just a few months ago I was chasing after Batch 9000, believing that it was so difficult to get. I was happy I chased it as it was a rewarding beer. I still have several left in the cellar to see how well they age: I have a feeling all of them will not survive the cold months ahead in Chicagoland.

Batch 10000 seems to have crept up on me without the fanfare of the previous release. Maybe it is because it is so close to the last release. I do know the 100 malts and 60 something hop varieties used in this beer didn’t strike me as an overwhelming prospect before it came out. Why chase it when it doesn’t sound appealing. So I didn’t.

Rich happened to be up in Michigan and picked up a sixer. He was kind enough to share one with me. So for beer number 13 of my 365 days of beer, I went with Batch 10000.

There is nothing special about the pour, except that it has a nice head which leaves some sticky, spider web like lacing behind. The aroma and taste are both complex: the amount of grains and hops all mingle to give an interesting mixture on the nose and tongue. Citrus hops is foremost while roasted, molasses, dark fruits, pepper, and more titillate the senses. I would have it again but it isn’t a go to beer. If you have to work hard to get it, just pass it up. Enjoy!

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

Three Floyds Lord Admiral Nelson (365 Day 9)

Friday, December 10th, 2010

If you followed Sips at all, you know that Thursday night is work on the website night (read: partake in some wonderful American craft beers) for Rich and I. We try as often as we can to get together and after a hiatus last week, are schedules matched to review a few beers last night.

For about the third time in two months, I am catching a cold, so I thought that last night’s tastings would be a wash. I limited myself to not much more than a couple of ounces of each beer: just enough to review. Luckily my sniffer was not blocked so the aroma of the beers came through big and bold.

I had three beers to choose from for the write up: Three Floyds Lord Admiral Nelson, Bell’s Batch 10000, and Olde Hickory Hickory Stick Stout. I decided to take the high road, writing about the beer that I liked best from the group: Lord Admiral Nelson. To be honest, I didn’t rate Batch 10000 last night, just didn’t have it in me.

Lord Admiral Nelson is a season that is somewhat hard to get and I only live an hour from the brewery. I decided it was time to crack this one open and see what the fuss was all about. A nice pour is quickly followed by juicy, fruity, and floral hops that draw you into the beer, not wanting let go once they have attained your attention. Malt is sweet and toasted. The hops, even though seemingly big, do not over power nor lend any extended bitterness to the after taste. Just a really solid beer all the way around. Enjoy!

Aroma: 10, Taste: 8, Look: 9, Drinkability: 9, Overall: 9.0

Four American Craft Beer Reviews

Friday, October 29th, 2010

American craft beer and Thursday nights go really well together for Rich and I. We work on the site, review a few beers, and are usually genuinely happy with a constructive evening.

Lately the number of beers has dipped but I don’t think that is a bad thing. We have become to enjoy them more by discussing what we think of each one. Our ratings, per beer, has also become more in sync with us barely ever being off about .3 – .4. In the scheme of things, that is close.

This week we tried a group of beers I brought back with from my Darkness trip that I had made with Mark this past week. The theme, outside of the last beer was wet hopped beers. Each beer was good in its own right but Wet took the show. How can a wet hopped Furious be bad?

The Thursday night lineup for October 28th, 2010 in the order reviewed:

Not a bad night to get primed for the weekend. Now I just have to figure out if a Darkness is the right beer for Halloween on Sunday. Enjoy!