Wednesday, November 19, 2014
So Freddy at SweetWater named a beer Hop Hash, huh? There's a surprise! But it's not exactly what you think. The Hash here is the hops they scraped from their pelletizers, used to try to make "the dankest double IPA out there." Bottle conditioned, with plenty of floaties to prove it. Whatever, I like them. They are my friends. 7.8% alcohol. Best if enjoyed by 12/29/14.
I decided this was the perfect beer to crack open with my new bottle opener: The Original Snake Bite Forked Church Key and Bottle Opener. This is a Kickstarter project that was funded in only 30 hours. Both the church key opener and the leather sheath (an awesome touch) are made in the USA from domestically-sourced products. I thought it was going to be bigger--not sure why. But the smaller sized and extremely lightweight and durable tool was perfect. Easy to take everywhere!
Beautiful aroma full of citrus, sweet orange and tropical fruits. Sweet tangerine flavor is delicious, first sip and every one that followed. But holy cow, those flavors are followed by a wallop of dank, hoppy goodness and a forest of spicy, bitter pine. Repeat.
Juicy, tropical, fruity, super fresh and just terrific flavors that play off of each other. Carbonation is good, a little prickly. A little alcohol dryness shows through at the finish. Great! I'll be back for the full six pack next time!
Monday, November 17, 2014
I had this can of Aviator Brewing's HogWild India Pale Ale in my fridge. "Had" because I just finished it and now will proceed to tell you about it. The can art is pretty fun, featuring an enormous boar scowling and flexing its biceps. Upon close inspection, you can see he is wearing an Aviator tank top and on a work shift at the brewery. Its nose septum ring and giant chain with dog tags basically say "don't mess with me!" 6.7% alcohol.
Pine, caramel and a hint of tropical fruit in the aroma. The flavors start out weirdly sweet, full of caramel and butterscotch. Some tropical pineapple and orange sweetness follows. Some pine, citrus rind and spicy hops do make an appearance, but this is nowhere near a "veritable fest of hops" as the can suggests.
Some good flavors, but way too sweet and the buttery/butterscotch flavors are definitely undesirable. Total pass is a category that includes hundreds of A+ IPAs.
Friday, November 14, 2014
The second new beer (after Boomerang IPA) that Sierra Nevada included in their Snow Pack Winter Seasonal box is one simply known as Coffee Stout. As the label suggests, "A cup of joe and a bold beer can thwart the winter cold." Good thing, big brrr tonight here in Miami with 50°F weather in just a few hours. And I have two more of these in the fridge for just such and occasion! Packaged 09/12/14. 6.2% alcohol.
Coffee, cocoa, great roasted malty aroma. HELLO GIANT COFFEE BOMB flavors! Yes, you will taste the cocoa and chocolate and maybe stretch your imagination toward one of those coffee flavors like mocha, but seriously this beer delivers on its name if nothing else! Licorice and nutty nuances exist, big amount of roast with the coffee, even a little sugary though never near sweet.
Bold with the coffee! Solid beer! Check it out for sure. I don't think you can go wrong with this mixed pack either. Great price and with the two new winners paired with Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale and Porter??? No Brainer!
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
"Plain Ole Glenn" up in Sarasota was talking about drinking some awesome beers a few days ago, including an imperial stout aged in rum barrels with coffee, cacao nibs, vanilla beans and chillies! And he decided to share his thoughts...
Prairie Artisan Ales Pirate Bomb
Bottle purchased by my dad up in my hometown of Lexington, Kentucky.
I haven't had the original Prairie Bomb though do have a bottle headed this way.
I'm always skeptical of this fad with Peppers/Chillies in Stouts. I have had many variations and many times I find the Pepper overpowers the sweetness of the stout and usually the beer turns into a drain pour because I get tired of the mix. Still, when done well in can be a nice pairing.
I poured this beer in a boring West Sixth Can shaped Pint Glass because I was too lazy to bust out a more appropriate glass. I'm not fancy.
The nose on this beer was nice, immediately I got Coffee and Chocolate.
My first sip or two of the beer were underwhelming with good coffee notes upfront and that Chillies kick at the back. I decided to let the beer sit 10 minutes and went back and found the Chocolate/Vanilla notes had joined the Coffee for a much nicer flavor and the pepper mellowed some to just a nice mellow little kick. The stout itself had a good body with a very nice thickness I like.
I ended up really liking this beer in the long run, maybe the biggest part of it I missed however was the Rum Barrel Aged claim which I didn't find much of. Maybe if I had the Regular Bomb! I'd notice the difference but the BA didn't really seem noticeable.
I liked this beer. It's worthy its high ratings.
Monday, November 10, 2014
This past Thursday, I stopped by the By The Glass Show to chat with Jose Mallea and Gus Chacon, founders of Biscayne Bay Brewing Company in Doral (Miami), Florida. The brewery is currently brewing around half a dozen beers and is for now sending them out in kegs to the local Miami community. And guess what? They brought five of their beers with them for us to taste!
What do two guys in the Miami Mayor's office that have never brewed beer do? Yep, they follow their dream to open a craft brewery in western Dade County, giving the locals a craft option that has eluded them for a long time. But they were also smart. They "put out a lot of feelers" looking for a professional brewer, and ended up with Aaron Anderson, a professionally educated brewer with experience at Avery, Abita, Breckenridge, and Coors (the technical part of on-the-job training).
So Aaron drives across country, despite having a plane ticket if he wants one. And I think that the team is pretty sure it's because he wanted to bring the prized mermaid that is located in the front of the brewery. She needs a paint job (and a new cap, but that's a different story). I recently had the chance to visit the brewery too, and they have a great location and big space just west of MIA Airport.
The locals that are tired of limited options at TJIFridays and the like keep stopping by the brewery for a beer. But they keep getting turned away since the 3000 sq. ft. tasting room is currently under construction. Fear not--the space should be finished by the end of the year! If you can't wait until Christmas to visit the tasting room, you might find these guys at local tastings or beer dinners (they recently did their first at Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza in South Beach!) I'd follow them on Facebook for that kind of info.
What will they be serving? Well, let me tell you about a few beers we tried. We started with 1513 Golden Ale, a beer named after the year Ponce de Leon discovered Biscayne Bay. And all the brewery's beers are named and created to reflect the attitude and traditions of Miami. 1513 Golden Ale was a dry, rich, lightly spiced ale that had all the crispness of a pilsner. Brett called that! And Jose confirmed that characteristic came due using a hybrid ale/lager yeast!
Miami Pale Ale was next. Smelled like all the awesome aromas of Miami--tropical fruity, mangoes, honey. Fruity, malty flavors, on the sweet end of things but definitely enough pale ale bitterness to balance the beer. That's when Brett started to drop phrases like "residual dextrins."
We then got to try the Biscayne Bay Saison, originally a specialty beer. But as Jose and Gus stated, they are smart enough to listen to the public and positive feedback, and made Saison a regular beer too! Belgian yeast with some spicy cloves comes first, though there is plenty of orange and sweet citrus. And a little alcohol kick! Gus said that this beer is brewed with all French hops!
La Colada Coffee Porter was next. Helluva Aroma! This is a celebration of their Cuban heritage. Gus cold-brewed the coffee and they also added a small amount of lactose to generate some creaminess. Really nice coffee and roasted flavors, bitter enough but NOT astringent at all. Long coffee finish.
We finished the night with Double 9 IPA. If you have no clue what that's referring to, well, it's a dominoes term. Sweet and malty. Maris Otter was the main hop used, though an Australian hop named Ella was used to dry hop the beer, providing a peachy flavor to the beer. This was especially fun since Gus' daughter is named Ella.
Was a fun night. Can't wait to see the new tasting room and new-and-improved mermaid. I'd even paint her myself if I were asked to do so! And if you're in Pembroke Pines, Brass Tap has their beers on tap! I'm personally looking forward to when they start bottling/canning, since I mostly drink alone! Good luck, Biscayne Bay Brewing!
Saturday, November 8, 2014
If you are in Miami on Saturday, November 22, 2014, there is an event not to miss. Love & Wine – A Rooftop Wine & Spirits, Gastronomic Affair will take place at The Collection Building in Coral Gables! I'm sure the entertainment and atmosphere are going to be spectacular!
Imagine... Awesome wine and spirits brands like Moet, Johnnie Walker and Ketel One meeting Passion Group Restaurants Lolita, Love is Blind, and Crazy About You while you relax on the rooftop of The Collection Building, checking out an exclusive lineup of 2015 cars provided by The Collection (you've seen the licence plate frames) and listening to live music. Oh, and if you see me, be sure to say hello!
You can get tickets at RoofTopAffair.com. To quote the famous movie philosopher Ferris Bueller, "It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."