Monday, December 5, 2016

Anchor Christmas Ale 2016

Surprise! Anchor Brewing created another Christmas Ale this year, 42nd year in a row with a different recipe. And another beautiful label, this year depicting the 1000 Mile Tree, Pinus solitarius. Atop the tree this year, look closely, is a person sipping on a mug of beer. I thought you also might enjoy the labels from each of the years, super cool! 6.5% alcohol. Under the cap: To Niels SKAL!

Caramel and fruit aroma, a little nutty as well. Dark fruit flavors, smoky, caramel and cherries, some roast and decent bitterness. Spicy, hints of tobacco. A sourish cherry lingers at the finish. Style guess for me was Old Ale, but since Anchor lists everything "Top Secret" perhaps "Winter Warmer" is the place to leave this.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

True Blonde Ale

Today I'm checking out Ska Brewing's True Blonde Ale. 5% alcohol. Light fruity apple, lemony aroma. Similar flavors with some toasted grain. Again with the lemon and apple, a little tartness and bitterness. Not bad.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Coppertail Brewing Tap Takeover at Wynwood's BoxElder Craft Beer Market

I would have gotten a better angle but traffic was crazy busy and standing middle of the road not wise!
Thursday night, BoxElder Craft Beer Market hosted a tap takeover with Tampa's Coppertail Brewing. The event took place in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood just as the annual Art Basel got underway. Traffic was crazy but I still arrived early, you know how I am.

When I walked in, I bumped into two guys that looked like they owned the place, one wearing a Coppertail Unholy shirt. I asked if they worked for Coppertail and the shirt one said, "I wish!" They proceeded to ask if I was there for the event and to tell me about the beers on tap.

Funny story, I found out like 3 hours later that the guy with the Coppertail shirt actually is the owner. LOL. Glad (I don't think) I didn't say anything stupid. I asked Owner Adam Darnell later why he didn't tell me he was in charge from the beginning. He just laughed it off, super nice guy. I should have known too, he had too much info, beyond a regular beer geek!

Anyway, the Coppertail team arrived a few minutes late after walking over from a dinner they had before. Brewmaster Casey Hughes, Sales Director Will Isaacson, Miami Rep Jio Torres and Brand Ambassador Sam Bips came in ready to get the party started. I  recognized Sam from my February visit to the brewery!

Sam, Jio, Will, Adam, Casey
Coppertail label artist Evan B. Harris, out of Portland Oregon, was also with the group. Coppertail sponsored his trip to Wynwood for the Art Basel celebration this year. Evan is in the process of creating two murals around the corner from BoxElder. Adam and Evan both told me that both murals are 50% done at best, so I decided to just go back and check them out when completed. If you take a picture when it's completed, please send it to me to post.

Evan was awesome to chat with. This guy was so surprised to have so much adoration about his label art. I don't think that he actually saw much of the marketing materials before his trip since Coppertail beers don't make it to Oregon. The coasters, t-shirts, posters, skate board, etc. I talked to him a long time and so many people complimented him, so humble. There were other brewery reps there just to meet him. Very cool.

Evan B. Harris (on the right)

As the Coppertail team got things started, Will set me up with an awesome starter beer: Unholy Manhattan, which is Rum Barrel Unholy Trippel blended with Wine Barrel Unholy, then aged on house bitters and treated with oranges and cherries! OMG so awesome!

I tried most of the options available. Stand outs for me besides that Unholy Manhattan were the Guava Pastelitos, a guava vanilla Berliner Weisse, Rum Barrel Choco Coco Imperial Stout, and Expresso Super Void, another imperial stout brewed with expresso coffee.

Anyway, Coppertail does have their four core beers along with some specialties bottled here in Miami. But Will told me that they work with BoxElder continuously to bring other cool offerings to this area on draft. You can also buy Coppertail (and other) bottles at BoxElder too. Stop by!

What a nice group of people and excellent beer!

FUNK Blueberry Citrus Wheat

DuClaw FUNK Blueberry Citrus Wheat? Yeah sure! FUNK in this case seems to NOT refer to any souring additions to the beer. Rather, a story on the side let you know this is a wheat ale with a funky "soulful fusion" of blueberries and meyer lemons. 5% alcohol.

Gotta work for any aroma, faint blueberry and light citrus. Blueberry flavors take at least half a dozen sips to come to the forefront and then still never get that big, just a touch of flavor. However, a giant sharp citrus lemon adds a huge amount of flavor and bitterness.

Tangy, wheaty. I was really hoping for bigger blueberry or other sweet balance, but that never happened. Kinda meh!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad

Quad Day 2016 is upon us! Yep, December 2nd marks the 5th Annual #QuadDay (and 45th Annual celebration of me!) You haven't heard of Quad Day? Yeah, that's because these days dedicated to beer styles are usually designed to catch the attention of big corporate monsters rather than actually promote craft beer. So fuck it! I don't really care if you pay attention to this "beer day," though I'm pretty sure you'll want to check out this beer! If you do drink a Quad, let me know in the comments or on Twitter. I'm happy to repost any pictures you take of your beer as well!

This year I chose Boulevard's Bourbon Barrel Quad. I think the brewery sells this in wine bottles too, though I just grabbed a single 12 ouncer as I am again drinking alone. Simple, handsome, classy label. 11.8% alcohol. 26 IBU. Best By 09SEP2018

Rich dark fruity aroma, full of figs. There is also a pretty nice cherry nuance lifted by some sweet spirits. Mmmm. Tasty! Figs and raisins, rich and bold. Caramel and brown sugar come next, all enhanced by a sweet spirits enhancement. 

Nuances of cherries, wood and vanilla make for an excellent and complex beer. Sweet yet not overly so. Super creamy. An alcohol kick is there but not hot and not obnoxious. Also, except for the sweetness and because of the nuanced use, not obviously bourbon barrels. Loved it!

See you next #QuadDay December 2, 2017.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

King's Reserve Hop Up Offa That Brett

Sun King recently sent me a pounder can of their King's Reserve Hop Up Offa That Brett. This beer is a Belgian-style pale ale brewed with lactobacillus and brettanomyces then dry-hopped with Mandarina and Liberty hops! The can lets you know to expect a sour beer with a fruity, hoppy character.

The brewery seems to have a standard King's Reserve beer can design that they add specifics in a sticker they attach to each version of the series. And it's a screw top can! How cool is that?!? 5.7% alcohol. 10 IBU.

Nice tropical pineapple aroma on top of an underlying base of lemony, yeasty hay, light funk. Holy shit! Big puckering tart, yeah I made that face and feel this on the sides of my neck. Very fruity, full of tangerines and pineapple. Some wine-like character and acidity continue.

Sweetness is there yet this remains quite tart, living on a lemon-lime citrus canvas. Yes, you will eventually get used to the tartness though it does remain a key player. Lightly funky. Big fruity. Nicely refreshing. Definitely check it out if you have the opportunity!