Sunday, August 28, 2016

Alesmith Nut Brown Ale

So you heard me mention Total Wine grabbed some Alesmith beers in a Brewery Direct deal right? Well, today I'm checking out their Nut Brown English-Style Ale. Demonstrative name on the label but otherwise pretty simple. No foofy label, damn it! Though I'm a big "cool label" guy! 5.0% alcohol. Bottled on 6/07/16. Serve in a pint glass, 45-50°F, which I didn't do.

There's a story that says this beer is a tribute to one of Alesmith's favorite British styles. Thank God they didn't stoop to the British "favourite." Even Google says I misspelled that word, LOL. Food pairing suggestions follow. You can read below, I think.

Malty aroma full of cocoa, lightly sweet, with a hint of nuttiness. Very creamy texture. Cocoa flavors with some light roast, light coffee, light smoke, light raisin. I guess this beer is basically showcasing a bunch of interesting nuances!

Now, Nut Brown is NOT sweet and has plenty of hoppy balance. Full of flavor! Very enjoyable! Check it out.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Too Hop'd to Handle India Pale Ale

Today I'm checking out Too Hop'd to Handle India Pale Ale brewed by High Heel Brewing in Lakeland, Florida. The label is very colorful, a nice pattern, but what I like most about it is the quality of the material. Not your standard paper label that gets all messed up with packaging, transit, water.

Too Hop’d to Handle is crafted with Columbus, Mosaic and Simcoe hop varieties according to their website. The label, however, says four varieties. Oh wait, that other hop is some secret rotating unnamed weapon that is going to blow us away with some seasonal hop variety! Belgian Candi Sugar  is also added as an embellishment in the brewkettle.

The label further quotes "YOU" by reminding you that you said to "Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire." You were drunk! I know you don't remember saying that! What the label doesn't tell you that this is an 8.4% alcohol, 89 IBU beer, and that's precisely why your quotes had to be recorded.

Nice tropical pineapple and sweet citrusy aroma. Sugary flavors out of the gate meet citrus tangerines and more tropical fruitiness. Some lemon and grapefruit bitter balance follows. And the finish to each sip carries all that!

There is some definite Belgian character with the added sugar. It's pretty sweet but trails off and balances with the hops in each sip. I'd say the addition of the Belgian Candi is very interesting and innovative, though I'm not sure I love it. I'd definitely like to check out the base beer as the underlying aroma and flavors are great!

Oh, and 8.4% alcohol? That part was hard to remember especially since it wasn't on the label, but I'm guessing you catch my drift? Definitely a beer to drink before going to a disciplinary meeting with your kid's principal!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Apple Brandy Barrel Noir -- Heath M. Guest Post

Apple Brandy Barrel Noir
From Prairie Artisan Ales
By Heath M.

I was at my local Total Wine a couple of weeks ago, and on the counter near the front stood a small number of bottles of Prairie Artisan Ales’ 12 oz. Apple Brandy Barrel Noir, priced at $12 a pop. Very few 12 ounce beers cost that much, and a quick search revealed it’s very highly rated, so I decided to cut back on a few beers I was going to buy to justify this purchase.

The Apple Brandy Barrel Noir is an imperial stout, which Prairie Artisan Ales recommends you sip slowly, or even stash some in a closet and let them age. Well, at $12 a bottle, I wasn’t going to age it. The ABV is a healthy 12% with 70 IBU.

It pours dark with a small head of foam. I took their advice and sipped it slowly, like a good Belgian Quad beer. It’s boozy, especially at 12%, but the flavors still came through. Sometimes with beer that high in alcohol content, all you taste is the booziness, but Prairie did a great job with this stout, aged in apple brandy barrels.

I took my time drinking it, and it helped take the edge off a recent mediocre Miami Dolphins pre-season game. And like a quality Belgian Quad, as it warmed up a little, the flavors changed slightly, which is always welcoming.

Highly recommend this beer, one of the best I’ve had in a while. But it’s pricey. I’m going to try other beers from Prairie, who are out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, but seem to have good distribution. A friend of mine said I need to try the Okie and the Bomb! Heck, I saw one of their Christmas Bomb 2015 beers at Total Wine, and it probably tastes even better.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Alesmith IPA

So Total Wine in Florida has another Brewery Direct set of beers from Alesmith Brewing out of San Diego. I hope you get to read this before they are all gone since I've been sitting on a few reviews for a week or two!

I grabbed three bottles: IPA, Nut Brown (English Style Brown Ale) and Lil Devil (Belgian Style Pale Ale), and, duh, started with the IPA. As with each bottle, the design is simple but bold and includes some copy on the back setting your expectations and offering food pairing advice. This particular bottle's story starts with "It's Pretty Awesome," so I have pretty awesome expectations. 7.25% alcohol. Serve in a pint at 45-50°F.

Fruity aroma, full of citrus, especially tangerines, and just a touch of pine. The pine shows up full force with the first sip though and really works well with the big dose of tangerine citrus that also runs this beer start to finish.

Fresh and bitter with some dank resinous hoppiness that lingers well into the finish. Honestly, there's not much of a sweet balance. My kind of IPA! (Well, one of my kinds of IPAs.)

Oh wait, there it is. I let half the beer sit on the counter for a little while, and some orange sweetness does show and take some of the bitter edge off. But of course that was above 50°F so I broke another rule. Anyway, nice beer and check it out!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wayfarer IPA

Today I'm checking out Green Man's Wafarer IPA. "Conceived in Asheville, NC." I suspect they put that on the can because I'm fairly certain the beer was brewed MAY/19/16 by Brew Hub in Lakeland, FL though that is no where to be found on the can. Nothing against contract brewing, but I don't like when facts are omitted.

Around the rim of the can, "CAN WHAT YOU DO. DO WHAT YOU CAN. WHERE WILL YOU GO. GO WHERE YOU WILL." The Green Man here is totally blue, donning some cool shades with a nautical background. 70 IBU; 6.0% alcohol (their website still says 5.5%, so maybe there are a few versions.)

Fruity orange and melon aroma, lightly tropical, nice but you'll need to risk beer inhalation to get a good whiff. Fruity flavors to start as well, citrus, orange and again, that distinct melon.

After a little sweetness up front, the bitterness really takes over with some pine and herbal flavors. Those linger into a dry finish and aftertaste. A little warmth takes some of the bitter edge off, adding a nice tangy component. Pretty nice beer!

Monday, August 22, 2016

12th of Never Ale

I was over at the liquor store last weekend, and the store manager told me he had a new favorite session IPA. Even at Total Wine, you can't break open 12 packs to grab a single. Well, you can, but you will be disappointed and ridiculed at checkout!

Since Lagunitas' 12th of Never Ale only comes in 12 packs, I decided to take a chance. A favorite style from a brewer that rarely disappoints, especially in the hoppy category? Sure! Sold!

Now this beer is canned! Yeah, I know. Even the story Lagunitas put on the can pokes fun at themselves for being one of the last craft breweries to can. "As the River Styx froze and the final pig took flight, when the last winged monkey departed the darkly fragrant netherlands, as wishes became horses and the beggars rode..."

That story continues, which you can hopefully read in the picture below. Nice can design. 5.5% alcohol, not exactly session definition, but fuck definitions. Even Lagunitas calls this a "slightly alcoholic" beer!

Bright citrus and candied lemon aroma, tangy, nice. Lemony citrus with some sweet and tangy balance come first. Nicely bitter but a definite honey and malty sweetness in the background.

Good body, good flavors, very nice. However, I do prefer All Day IPA because it's a little sharper, a little more refreshing, a little better 8 am post run beer to start All Day! Anyway, I had zero problem finishing all 12 of these before I even got around to writing this review, so take that as an endorsement! Check it out!

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