Monday, January 31, 2011

Old Fezziwig Ale

Today I'm drinking another from the Samuel Adams mixed pack, Old Fezziwig Ale. I have reviewed this beer before though it was during the first month of this website back in December, 2008. A lot has changed around here since then! Honestly, I don't remember a thing about this beer and don't believe I've had it since. The label is a little busy with what I think is a Dickens scene behind a huge red ribbon with the beer name. Needs a face-lift. Best before May, 2011.

Malty aroma with some roasted nuts along with its cinnamon and ginger spiciness. Toasted, roasted, creamy, malty flavor start. Some sweet chocolate and brown sugar are very noticeable right at the beginning as well. The pie spices are also shouting throughout and are particularly enhanced by a large dose of prickly megaphone carbonation. Toward the end, an orange flavor builds and builds; reminds me a bit of a sugary orange candy. (OK, so now I've mentioned each of the components written on the label. Call me a cheater if you'd like).

Though the alcohol is only 5.9%, relatively low for a Winter Warmer, it is still noticeable and still gives a nice warming tingle to the body. On the barely sweet side but overall very well balanced. An enjoyable and flavorful beer all around, though two is definitely going to be the limit. Luckily, that is exactly how many came with this group. Check it out before it's gone for the year!

A Christmas Carol -- Charles Dickens

Kurt Adler Steinbach 16.5-Inch German Nutcracker Christmas Carol Series, Fezziwig

Scrooge's Brew Beer Soap - Made with Sam Adams Old Fezziwig Ale

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hopslam Ale

Today I'm drinking Hopslam Ale brewed by Bell's Brewery in Comstock, Michigan. Yes, it's that time of year again when Bell's sends three cases of this beer to each local Total Wine store and the impending hype rattles on for months. I first tried this beer last year and certainly thought it was a great beer. So $20 for a sixer instead of the $17 from last year seems fair, right? This better Rock the Casbah!

The label is mostly green, but you can see what appears to be the shoes and arms of a guy who got crushed by 3 giant hop buds right on the front. The bottle cap repeats that picture. The back of the bottle states, "A biting, bitter, tongue bruiser of an ale. With a name like Hopslam, what did you expect?" This beer was brewed with honey. Batch 10127. One last comment. For $20 and for one of their signature beers, Bell's should be able to put the neck label on straight. Ten degrees off center and ten degrees crooked are both gift estimates.

Beautiful hoppy citrus and tropical fruit aroma. Peaches, papayas and pineapples... Oh My! Sweet tropical fruits are the first flavors to hit your palate. Oranges and peaches are standouts! Some hoppy pine bitterness coupled with a small dose of spice come in for a balancing challenge, but honey then gets tag-teamed into the ring and body slams any further bittering effect. Basically, this is like drinking a sweet flower. Hmmm. Creamy texture, nice carbonation, oily and slightly syrupy body. The 10% alcohol was mostly masked though it did cut through the sweetness quite a bit and provided a very dry finish. You are left with a nice fruity aftertaste.

Over-hyped? Damn straight! Delicious? Absolutely. Once a year I will probably continue to make sure I get a taste of this beer, even at the current rate!

Hip Hop Slam Intro -- Invisibl Skratch Piklz

Beer Hops 10 Seeds- Humulus lupulus - Exotic!

Hype! 7 Year Bitch

Saturday, January 29, 2011

J.K.'s Scrumpy Farmhouse Organic Orchard Gate Gold Hard Cider

Tonight I'm changing things up just slightly. I'm drinking J.K.'s Scrumpy Hard Cider fermented by Almar Orchards in Flushing, Michigan. It's been a while since I've had a hard cider, at least not a flavored one at some rich kid's birthday bash. This one happens to be unfiltered and organic and only has apples and yeast as its ingredients. The apples are actually grown on site at the Koan Family Orchards (I guess Almar is one of those). Nice inviting apples on the label. On the back, Ben Franklin is quoted as saying, "He that drinks his Cyder alone, let him catch his Horse alone."

Fruity apple aroma with a hint of vinegar. Very smooth to start; not sure why, but I was expecting some kind of prickly offering. The flavors are very much apples, but not really any variety in particular. A nice sweet beginning is balanced by a tangy and refreshing zing. The carbonation is also very nice, just medium. Full of flavor and quite delicious. The 6% alcohol wasn't really very noticeable though it's difficult not to tell this guy was hard. I could have easily had another big one. Maybe I'll try a few other ciders.


Green Mountain Naturals Hot Apple Cider, 24-Count K-Cups for Keurig Brewers

Pendelfin Scrumpy stonecraft rabbit - cheeky rabbit sculpture biting into an apple - PDF15

Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hoptimum

Today I'm drinking Hoptimum, a whole-cone imperial IPA brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California. As usual, the label is totally pro, and with its 24-ounce size, there is plenty of real estate to work with on it. The front depicts a portrait of a Hop Head, where you can see the suit and tie from the shoulders up, and of course the whole hop as the head. Great green-on-green colors too.

Very fresh aroma: pine, hops, lemon and grapefruit, yet still with a hint of bready malt. Clearly freshly-squeezed grapefruit right in the beginning, refreshingly bitter. Lemon, orange rinds, and all-kinds-a-citrus come next followed by the big pine tree that fell on your car. Yet, despite all of that, there is an underlying malty sweetness, just enough to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress! Hoptimum doesn't really sport a tropical fruity sweetness in the beginning, but by the end of the double-bottle, the warmth does allow some of those flavors through.

Now, let me tell you about big 10.4% alcohol. You can taste it and you know it's there and it sure as Hell is warming you up, but it's not abusive, it's not slapping your palate around, and it's not destroying your experience. So I say it's a great component, accentuating the best parts. Carbonation is great. Consistency has a little slick oily stickiness and is spot-on too! Some spiciness comes through for most of the beer but it's not a gigantic jabbing spicy experience, more subdued. You end with a dry finish, a bit understated. Terrific beer, fabulous all around, great balance.

Now without creating an entire math lesson here, let me factor price into this equation. I even took the "Party Ready To Happen" photo below so you might feel this lesson a little more, get in the mood. Hoptimum was $11 or 45.8 cents per ounce--pretty hefty! That is more than double the price of the spectacular Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA coming in at $10/four-pack or 20.8 cents per ounce. Avery Maharaja comes in at around 36.4 cents per 22-ounce bottle, and since I included it in the picture, Hoptimum's awesome little brother Torpedo Extra IPA comes in at 10.4 cents per ounce, if you buy a full six pack. Finally, let's not forget Mr. Hype, Bell's Hopslam, which I am the proud owner of a six pack. At $20 per sixer, that comes in at 27.8 cents per ounce, which only earns it Price Bronze in this analysis.

If you are rich or one of those must-try guys, seriously drink Hoptimum all day long. But otherwise, read between the lines of the paragraph above and spend your money wisely! Love, your beer buddy. Wow, I'm a bit buzzed now!

If you enjoyed this review, or even if you hated it but think I have potential, please use the buttons below to Tweet or Facebook or Email this to your friends. After you've told the whole world, take a moment to sign up to receive a once-daily, morning-coffee email from me with my Daily Beer Review (and usually a story with it).

Beer Hops 10 Seeds- Humulus lupulus - Exotic!

Grapefruit - Oro Blanco Tree

Gourmet Holiday Gift Basket - Chef Select Sweet Meyer Lemons

Big IPA Party

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Exit 4 American Trippel

from NYPost.com
Oh, Jersey Turnpike, how I don't miss you! Actually, I was more a frequenter of the Garden State Parkway during my years in New York, frequently visiting my grandmother in Ocean City.

Today I'm drinking Exit 4 American Trippel brewed by Flying Fish Brewing Company in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. According to the Exit Series website set up for this "experiment", "The Exit Series of beers is a multi-year brewing experiment to brew a series of beers as diverse as the great state of New Jersey." I can't wait to see what flavor profile and style they come up with when they get to Snooki's exit!

Fruity peach aroma with candy and sugar and alcohol. Honey flavors are very noticeable right in the beginning, accentuated fantastically by the 9.5% alcohol. Plenty of pure sugar and candy follow and mix nicely with fruity mangoes and peaches, very tropical. There is definitely a kick of spicy black pepper and cloves as well. The yeast also stands out and is distinctly Belgian. Syrupy consistency, low carbonation. While there is a bitter component that tries to fight back, the boozy yeasty syrupy is a little much. Definitely not my favorite, though Exit 4 is a pretty decent beer in general. Check it out when you can.

A Shore Thing -- Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi

Here's the Situation: A Guide to Creeping on Chicks, Avoiding Grenades, and Getting in Your GTL on the Jersey Shore

Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Samuel Adams Scotch Ale

Bought my $20 six pack of Hopslam and my $11 double-bottle of Hoptimum. They better be fabulous beyond fabulous! I'm gonna need a second job to cover them. It was funny, too, all this hype. Each Total Wine store received only three cases of Hopslam and limited their customers to one six pack per person. The dude in front of me paying brought his unwilling girlfriend in the store just so he could get two. Isn't that insane? I was so close to just buying one bottle, but I caved. Anyway, not tonight for either of these.

Tonight I'm drinking Samuel Adams Scotch Ale brewed by The Boston Beer Company in Boston, Massachusetts and Brenigsville, Pennsylvania (nothing about Cincy on this one). Typical presentation here, just a red plaid as the background color. I finished the bottle before I read the neck label which says that one of the malts used is a rare peat-smoked malt used in scotch whiskies. Purchase before September, 2011.

Malty caramel aroma with a hint of tea, a little sweet. The flavors started out with a big dose of smoke, which was completely unexpected. Remember, I read the label afterward. Roasted and nutty with caramel and wood flavor after that. Very interesting. Bitter and prickly carbonation take turns sparring with your mouth. Nicely balanced on the barely bitter side. The alcohol provides a dry finish and a touch of warmth. Pretty good beer and definitely different.

Michael Jackson's Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch

3M 2090-1A Scotch Blue Painter's Tape for Multi-Surfaces 1-Inch-by-60-Yard

Riedel Vinum Single Malt Whiskey Glasses, Set of 2

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ten FIDY Imperial Stout

Today I'm drinking Ten FIDY Imperial Stout brewed by Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, Colorado. This one happened to be canned on 10-11-10 at 15:21. The date stamp also includes the phrase, "ROUND 3, DING! DING!" For me, it's only Round 2, as this is a repeat from early last year. Around the rim of the can are some other words: "Cross-eyed. Cyclopean. Cancupiscent. Half-Baked. Fully Roasted Ale." Finally, "this dog'll hunt." Very bold silver and black can design.

Rich, luscious chocolate aroma. Just a hint of vanilla and licorice there too. Chocolate and caramel flavors get you started, sweet but not too sweet. The 10.5% alcohol really cuts through and softens the sweetness, while also providing some serious warming. Coffee flavors are also prevalent throughout. Vanilla nuances, some fleeting licorice and perhaps even a bit of wood round out the flavor profile. Extremely smooth, velvety texture, Ten FIDY completely covers the inside of your mouth. Excellent beer, a sipper all the way. Go grab one!

Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard, Double Rich Chocolate, 5 Pound

Victoria's Secret - Vanilla Lace - Refreshing Body Mist 8.4 Oz

Panda All Natural Licorice Chews, 7-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 12)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rock Art IPA (II) Double IPA -- Beerlyweds Chad Guest Post

I was talking to this guy over on time-waster Twitter the other day. I think the subject was how almost all of the beers from Sam Adams have the same distinct flavor. Anyway, one thing led to another and the next thing you know I have a new guest here! Chad is half of the Beerlyweds team; he and his wife enjoy reviewing beers together. He wrote a short bio below as well. Thanks, Chad, for taking the time.

Finally, I must congratulate Rock Art for the wonderful grammar they put on their label and website: "Whether it’s 90 degrees out or your knee deep in pow pow....." Hahaha.


Rock Art IPA (II) Double IPA

Rock Art Double IPA is an 8% ABV, 90IBU offering from the Green Mountain State. Part of the “EXTREME” series of Beer, the Bottle with the Bright Yellow Label has the “This Ain’t for no Mama’s Boy or Daddy’s Girl” Catch Phrase. The Label has a small write up which includes some ideas for Food Pairings.

Normally I’d be reviewing this Brew from the @Beerlyweds but Wifey cringed at the thought of a Double IPA. No complaints here, Flying solo means more Hoppy Goodness for Me. Lets Dive right in.

The Beer Poured with a Thin White Head, This could have been due to me not pouring with enough Vigor as there are Visible bubbles, Carbonation is definitely present. The Beer has a Deep Copper Color, almost red. It is clear, unlike a lot of Doubles that have a very Visible Hop Haze.

I find the Nose to be very fresh. There is a nice Piney Hops Scent, with Just a hint of Citrus and malt. Very Effervescent, I was able to smell the hops before I even picked up the Glass.

The Taste is Clean up front with a rush of aggressive Bitter. As the bitter settles down a slightly citrus flavor appears but is almost an after thought. The hops have a Piney, Grassy flavor, I Find that the flavor is similar to a Wet Hop Ale, with a very Fresh flavor.

Such a Rich colored beer led me to expect more of a Malt presence, it’s definitely in there adding to the Balance of Flavors but is Subtle compared to the Hops.

This Beer is very crisp and clean, it has a pleasant Mouthfeel. There is no Sticky or Oily residue left behind. The Bitterness Lingers on your Tongue, almost a slightly numbing sensation. It’s enjoyable though and not Overwhelming or Tiring like some of the Bigger Hop Monsters out there.

Overall I would suggest this to anyone who enjoys a Strong Hops Bitter but in an Easy Drinking way. I think it lives up the Double IPA title but might fall slightly short of the “EXTREME” emblazoned on its label. The side of the Bottle reads “Whether it’s 90 Degrees out or your knee deep in Pow Pow….” I agree 100% with that statement, Hot Day or Cold snowy Maine Evening, This beer from Vermont is Just Right.


My name’s Chad I’m a 28 year old Vermonter transplanted to Maine. Husband and Father I’m usually reviewing with my Wife Jessica as the Beerlyweds. I am a fan of all Beer and constantly trying to find new Brews to try, although I tend to Favor Big IPA’s and anything Imperial.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shiner Dortmunder-Style Spring Ale

Here is the offending monster!
By popular demand, I'm going to tell you a little ditty about one of my weekend projects and how changing the time on a clock can literally take around an hour. Yes, I know!

First challenge, this is no ordinary clock. No, it's not Big Ben, either. But it is hanging around 20 feet off the ground, very much out of reach. We have leaned over the balcony railing with a broom handle to fix the time during Daylight Savings Time, but this guy was completely stopped this time. Diagnosis: dead battery.

The 24-foot big ladder doesn't get much action here unless there's a reason to put up hurricane shutters. I found it buried behind the recently packed Christmas tree, and about 20 other boxes. Took a solid 20 minutes of bike and box rearranging just to get to it. Then I had to open the garage and move the wife's car out of the driveway just to be sure not to scratch it. Yeah, I took the ladder in through the front door to avoid maneuvering extra turns.

OK. Inside, no problem, leaned the ladder on the wall, climbed up, grabbed the 50+ pound clock and came back down. Great. Not just a dead battery, but a ton of battery acid everywhere too. Damn you Costco brand! So I cleaned all that shit away very well, replaced the battery, set the time, cleaned the dust and spider webs, and made sure it worked for the next 5 minutes.

Time to put it back up. While I was hanging it, the rug that the ladder was on started to slip, which meant I was also starting to slip. Holy dangerously close to a big fucking wipeout. At least the clock was already up there. But the wife decided it was crooked. I made her hold the ladder while I went back up to rotate it one degree to her liking. Finally, I had the pleasure of reversing the process: ladder back out, back in its home, replace all boxes and bikes and clean all the dirt that I managed to stir up. The End. If you would like to witness similar exciting actions, something like that pretty much happens every weekend here.

Today I'm drinking Shiner Dortmunder-Style Spring Ale brewed by Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas. This is their newest beer. The bottle goes on to say, "THERE'S Nothing Finer THAN A SPRINGTIME SHINER!"

Floral aroma, touch of bread and a little hoppy. Big grain flavors and sweet corn start things off. A hoppy balance immediately brings this beer to just on the barely sweet side of neutral. Hint of bread, definite flower garden, hoppy. Great prickly carbonation really brings out the best this beer has to offer. While it's pretty plain and simple, the flavors are nice and this is a very refreshing beer. I could easily drink this all day long without tiring of it. Very nice!

Ashton Sutton Large Wall Clock

Shine On: 100 Years of Shiner Beer (Beers)

Eyederma (1oz) - Reduce Dark Eye Circles and Under-Eye Puffiness Forever!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Schneider & Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse Ale

Blurry is what happens with no-flash photos in the dark!
When I was over in the foreign aisle at Total Wine the other day, I came across the beer I will be drinking today. Schneider & Brooklyner Hopfen Weisse brewed by Private Weissbierbrauerei G. Schneider & Sohn GMBH in Kelheim, Bavaria, Germany. Now that's why I love the German language! Oh, and good freakin' luck if you click to that website.

As the story on the back of the bottle states, this beer is the other half of the collaboration between Schneider's Hans-Peter Drexler and Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver. I had the first half almost a year ago while I was reminiscing about young love, and I probably should have looked for this one sooner. The code on the label has no understandable "drink by" information, just 10.165 3 0848 2717 as a code. May as well be in German!

This bottle is 16.9 ounces large and there is a shitload of sediment on the bottom. Personally I think it's time Schneider takes a look at its presentation. The long slender bottle has an extremely blah blue and yellow most boringest label I've ever seen. It is, however, the beer that counts. Here we go with a "hoppy, zesty and supremely refreshing, delicious blend of Bavarian craftsmanship and American ingenuity". The stories from each version really echo each other.

Wheat, banana and spicy aroma--yummy and classic. Tons of wheat and tons of banana flavors hit you right from the beginning. Spicy cloves and coriander are also very noticeable. With each sip, light lemon and yeasty sour build and build to another serious flavor contender. The beginning flavors were a little sweet, but those are smoothed by some slow jams... er... I mean, by the 8.2% alcohol and a bit of hoppy bitterness. The alcohol also provides some warmth by the end without getting in the way of the flavors. Strong carbonation. Terrific flavors! I don't remember the alcohol being such a factor in the Brooklyn version though that could be mostly just a bad memory, but it's a little burny by the endy. Great beer. Try it if it's still lingering around.

Bananagrams

The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food -- Garrett Oliver

Daytrips Germany: 60 One Day Adventures by Rail or by Car in Bavaria, the Rhineland, the North and the East

Friday, January 21, 2011

Belgica

Today I'm drinking Belgica, a Belgian-Style IPA brewed by Great Divide Brewing Company in Denver, Colorado. "So why is the beer pictured in a Newcastle Brown Ale glass then?" Excellent question! My friends from the PR firm that represents Newcastle sent it to me in a time of distress. They may have heard me cursing when I broke a similar $10 glass from Mikasa several months ago, but they for sure they heard the double- and triple-fucks when I broke my Dogfish Head glass while washing it not too far back. Thanks for coming to the rescue guys. (Oh, and they didn't charge me, if I didn't get that point across). I hope it makes the beers look sexy!

According to the side label story, Belgica is what the Romans call the Low Countries. Yeah, me too! I had to look up what a Roman and a Low Country is as well. The story continues with some American-Belgian marriage and ends with suggested food pairings. Just read them yourself below. Great, now I'm going to need to go look up Taleggio and Epoisses now too! Bottled on Jan 05 2011.

Fruity, floral and yeasty aroma. Sweet and fruity start with orange and other generic citrus flavors, a bit syrupy. Some spicy black pepper and barely hoppy bitterness come in and fight away some of the sweet. Citrus rinds are next followed by some yeasty, then more yeasty, then weird yeasty flavors. A little metallic toward the end, and the aftertaste is a dry strange bitter. The 7.2% alcohol was not really a factor except perhaps when it came to the dry finish. So a recap: syrupy sweet to start and strange bitter in the end. Despite the awkward swing in flavors, this wasn't a horrible beer, but I'll certainly grab Flying Dog Raging Bitch off the shelves 100 times in a row over this one, especially now that it's available year round.

Belgica: Webster's Timeline History, 15 BC - 2007

Newcastle Brown Ale Cotton Bar Towel

Tales of the Weirrd -- Ralph Steadman