Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sierra Nevada Golden IPA

Grabbed Sierra Nevada's 4-Way IPA mixed 12 pack last week. One of my favorite breweries making a 12 pack with two beers I love (Ruthless Rye and Torpedo) and two beers I hadn't tried (Golden IPA and Blindfold Black IPA) is a definite try, especially considering all the IPA awesomeness they brew! And who doesn't like 4-ways?

The label shows a rolling field of grain and a stream with mountains in the background. A little story on the back label sets your expectations for an "approachable IPA as West Coast as a sunset over the Pacific." PKGD 12/04/14. 5.9% alcohol. 55 IBU.

Definitely "Golden" in color! Aroma is fairly muted, maybe some citrus. But the flavors are big and aggressive! Grapefruit and lemon citrus rind hits right from the start. The lemony flavors are very astringent. Spicy, some pine in the middle. Sharp and crisp throughout with some dryness and light alcohol at the finish. 

That lemon astringency and dryness were a little harsh and lasted long after each sip on the palate. I didn't really dig the aftertaste after a while either. A little malty sweet balance would have been nice. Sierra Nevada makes a dozen better IPA options themselves. Anyway, if you see this mixed 12 pack at a party or take it yourself to one, choose one of the other three options!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Anniversary 19 Session IPA

Today I'm checking out Victory Brewing's Anniversary 19 Session IPA. The label has a little story about how this beer is our gift for their birthday bash. The label art reminds me of a puzzle--lots of little things going on with lots of details. Hundreds of thumbnail sketches of dogs, hockey players, pretzels, balloons, cheerleaders, etc. Very fun! 4.5% alcohol. Enjoy by 9MAY2015.

Very nice aroma, full of pineapple, fresh and hoppy, light pine. Great tropical orange and pineapple flavors come first with an initial sweetness. A citrus and resinous pine bitterness does answer though. Sweet and bitter. Juicy. Lightly spicy. Carbonation is good. Quite flavorful and I could easily drink a lot of these. Definite winner. Happy Birthday, Victory!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Shiner Birthday Beer Chocolate Stout 106

How's that for a reflection?
For their 106th birthday, Spoetzl Brewery brewed Shiner Birthday Beer Chocolate Stout, a style that I don't think I've seen from them before. The label has a little sketch of a birthday cake with the back label setting your expectations. "Happy Beer-Day to Shiner!" 5.0% alcohol.

Enormous chocolate aroma, like massive rich brownies with that caramel streak in them. I smell hints of licorice as well. But upon drinking, this beer is A LOT thinner than the aroma let on! Chocolate flavors are present but in a way that seems like some cocoa was sprinkled on the regular Shiner beer. Cocoa powder flavor, that's about it. On the sweet side but fine. One note, very boring. And certainly not as "rich as Shiner's heritage."

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pipeworks Brewing Label Artist Jeff Kuhnie Signs Some Contest Labels!

I had a contest a few weeks ago to win original Dogfish Head beer labels signed by artist Jermaine Rogers. To win, entrants needed to answer a few questions. One question basically asked what other beer label art is kicking ass right now. This chick said that Jeff Kuhnie is doing some awesome work for Pipeworks Brewing, so I decided to reach out to Jeff and see if I could get another contest going. Here's an article that shows some of Jeff's label work and gives a little background of his relationship with the brewery.

Now I've never tasted any Pipeworks beers as they are not distributed anywhere near Florida. But if they brew beer like they package their product, then I bet they're pretty awesome. Names like Attack of the Devil's Lettuce Coffee IPA and Reaper Vs. Unicorn Rye Barleywine Style Ale? Along with some crazy stories and of course Jeff's artwork? Excellent!

Jeff is one of the nicest guys ever (not that I was surprised). He promptly returned my emails and we had a nice conversation about the project on the phone. I guess he's really good friends with the owners of the brewery and even cut out all of my normal logistical challenges by obtaining, signing and sending them my way--all within a week! And he dropped a few stickers of his work in as well, which you can see all the way at the bottom.

So the contest to win each of the three signed labels... Again, there will be multiple winners, but again I don't know how many exactly. It really depends on how many (good) entries there are. As usual, I'll try to make the rules really simple, but if I need to make new ones as the contest goes for unforeseen reasons, I will do that. No complaining.

Answer three of the five questions below. I prefer that you leave your answers as a comment, but if you need to email me your answers, so be it. I will publish your email though (not the address), so don't think emailing me makes it private. Don't copy answers from the comments--it will be obvious--these questions all have many answers.

Be creative, thoughtful, original--those are some of the qualities that winning entries will have in them. Contest ends next Friday, January 23, 2015 at midnight. I'll pick the winners over that weekend. Make sure you leave an email or Twitter handle or some way to reach you (or you just became a loser).

1. Name three other Pipeworks Brewing beers, choosing your favorites based on their names. Bonus: who was the artist for that beer's label?

2. Since I found Jeff because of a this question, I'll ask it again... What other brewery/label artist teams are currently kicking ass (links if you can find)?

3. Buy a Six Pack or Bomber of your favorite beer, which each cost $9.99. Why did you make that choice? Convince me.

4. In a few sentences, what was the best beer festival you ever attended. And why?

5. Provide an original name for a beer you want to brew (or watch someone else brew). What style of beer is it? What makes it special?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Upslope Foreign Style Stout

Sorry it's a little blurry. Best of 5 pictures. Crap!
I was recently given the opportunity to check out Upslope Brewing's Wild Saison, and the agency representing them followed up with their Foreign Style Stout. This beer was also canned but just the normal 12 ounce size. Very simple design, black and silver, with ingredients and specs listed to the side. 6.9% alcohol.

Nice head! Light coffee and roasty aroma. Bitter coffee flavors are first and remain dominant throughout. Good roast, almost to the point of burnt, comes with a hint of chocolate. That chocolate flavor builds throughout and is bigger by the time you're finished with the beer. Creamy, nice mouthfeel, with a pleasant lingering aftertaste. Good flavors, decent overall, but not one to keep drinking all night. Check it out though.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

4 Hands Brewing Chocolate Milk Stout

Along with their newly canned beers, 4 Hands Brewing sent along a bomber of their Chocolate Milk Stout for me to check out! Nice label depicting a big-eared cow wearing an old milkman's cap. There is a little story on the side to set your expectations and they suggest you pair this with chocolate and/or grilled beef. Bottled on 10/29/14. 5.5% alcohol.

Cocoa, caramel and roasty aroma, smells nice but you really gotta work for it! Chocolate flavors are prominent, quite creamy and milky. Pretty much what I expected, and don't get me wrong, the flavors were good. But my wife pretty much summed up the beer on her first sip before returning to the rest of Big Eddy's Cherry Doppelschwarz still left in an earlier glass. "Good but doesn't taste like beer. Like an alcoholic chocolate milk."

Nice chocolate, very simple. Vanilla hints show through. A little thin. But the flavors were good and I had no problem finishing all 22 ounces minus that one aforementioned sip!