Thursday, May 31, 2012

Samuel Adams Porch Rocker

Today I'm drinking Samuel Adams Porch Rocker brewed by The Boston Beer Company in Boston, Cincinnati, or Breinigsville, Pennyslvania. This beer was inspired by the traditional Radler, a combination of German-style lemonade and beer. The label has that enormous Samuel Adams name branding in addition to the beer name banner below it. Underneath both, the artwork hides. It is very difficult to tell what the artist would have wanted you to see, but off on one edge is a rocking chair on a porch; at the top, some lights at the house's entrance. Enjoy before November, 2012.

Lemony aroma, but nearly as much as I anticipated, and there is a definite toasted grain component. Ah, there's the lemon tartness, coming through with the first sip. You have a lemon drop candy sweetness meeting a lemon rind bitterness. All the while, some malty, grainy sweetness balances out the beer. Prickly on the palate. Decent, not-too-thin body. Refreshing. Porch Rocker had a nice lingering aftertaste, lemony, and was very enjoyable overall.






Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Samuel Adams Belgian Session

Today I'm drinking Samuel Adams Belgian Session brewed by The Boston Beer Company in Boston, Cincinnati or Breinigsville, Pennsylvania. This one came in a mixed 12 pack I think they were calling "Summer Styles". Now, you might be surprised to hear that Sam dropped their enormous branding banner over top of the label art. Apparently though, they did that so they could place an even more gigantic name of the beer over top of everything. But at least you can see past and between the lettering.

Behind the name, two full beer mugs collide as people celebrate in a cozy Belgian village at the foot of a giant mountain. Between the beer name and art, Sam was sure to say "Product of USA" on the side in case you weren't sure and the experience led you to believe otherwise. Enjoy before Oct '12.

Fruity pear, Belgian yeast and spiced aroma. Light fruit, very soft flavors in the beginning. There is also plenty of yeast. Bananas and oranges come to mind. Not sweet but rather a bit hoppy. Light toasted malts and a grainy flavor persist throughout. Spicy cloves show up too. Clean. Good carbonation. Refreshing. I don't know the alcohol content but I'm guessing it's pretty low, matching the beer name. Good flavors. Not awesome but definitely solid. Nice refreshment and I liked the lingering fruity aftertaste too.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dreadnaught Imperial I.P.A.


Today I'm drinking Dreadnaught Imperial I.P.A. brewed by Three Floyds Brewing in Munster, Indiana. Though this brewery's beers are not distributed to Florida, I've had the opportunity to trade for a few in the past. Pride & Joy Mild Ale followed by Broo Doo Harvest Ale and Moloko Milk Stout actually all came from Marathon Marie (pre-baby) as part of our two trades.

This beer, however, has its own story (no, I didn't move to Indiana). About a week ago I was thinking up some wise-ass comments to post to Twitter when an email appeared in my inbox. Not just any ordinary email. Fan email (if you guys can believe that). Turns out that a local guy that does some business travel had collected too many bottles on the road and decided to offer me this little gem he had picked up recently. What an awesome gesture! I met the guy, and we chatted for a while about his hophead syndrome and what other awesome beers he's had on his travels (Double Jack), which made me drool.  Oh, and it seems that he has the real job that I want, too, but that story is for another time. LOL. Thank you!

Unsurprisingly, the label art on Big 22 is very colorful and whimsical. An emperor of sorts is sitting on a barrel of beer in front of his palace while a servant gives him two mugs, each labeled IPA. I guess having two makes that a double IPA. The queen watches on while toasting with her own mug. You are also reminded that "IT'S NOT NORMAL", presumably referring to the beer/brewery. The little story on the side sets up your expectations, starting by calling this "A hophead's dream beer".


Mango and tropical fruit meet sweet orange citrus for a fabulous aroma. A fresh hoppy bouquet lies just underneath that fruity experience. Really nice sweet and fruity flavors start things off. It's quite amazing how much the tropical mango and tangerine and pineapple really stand out!

Next, an awesome spicy and hoppy bite comes to take a chuck from that initial sweetness. The alcohol is noticeable but really great at bringing out the fruits as well as some bread dough and caramel nuances. Did I mention that the tropical aspect is really terrific?

I love how the sweetness and bitterness work together, yet not in a way that blends them to neutral. Each is distinct and ping-pongs back and forth off the other. Nice warmth at the finish from the alcohol as well, as I indeed wanted an alcoholic drink. That's about it except that this beer was great. Again, thanks to my new friend. And for sure check out this beer if you are able!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Brooklyn East India Pale Ale

Today I'm drinking Brooklyn East India Pale Ale brewed by The Brooklyn Brewery in Utica, New York. The label is very simple, just highlighting the Brooklyn logo. A little story on the neck states that this is their version of brewer George Hodgson's beer from the 1820's, designed to last the trip from England to India. Ed Roberts traded me this one for a few Newcastle Summer Ales. Good trade? LOL. Actually, he noticed I hadn't reviewed it before and had a bottle, so decided to give it to me. Best Before July, 2012.

Bready, doughy aroma with light floral hops. Similar flavors. Bread and dough, fairly malty. Very dry in the beginning. Some caramel sweetness comes through in the background too. Next up, herbal tea, and a lot of it, very much showing its English IPA characteristics. Hoppy, floral, good body and decent balance. You know what? I just don't dig this style of beer, so it's hard to make a fair evaluation or comparison. I don't like the herbal and doughy qualities, but if you do, you will probably like this beer.  That's it.





Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rascal's Wild Red

Today I'm drinking Rascal's Wild Red, a "premium raspberry lager" brewed by Blue Dawg Brewing in Baldwinsville, New York. So Bud finally put out a new version of their Wild Blue mess, huh? There is a red dog on the label playing a guitar. I'm guessing that might be Rascal.

There is an enormous aroma, even on the wind, as I opened it outside. I filled my glass with the most fluorescent red-pink neon liquid this side of a radioactive glow you've ever seen. The smell is sickeningly sweet, and oh yes full of raspberries. These raspberries are unnatural, hitting manufactured impossible fruity flavors. So far, this sucks.

Well, there are definitely raspberry flavors, but they are sugary sweet and obnoxious. Overly concentrated nonsense! Seriously, this tastes super-fake, even plastic. The 8% alcohol tries to hide behind the sweetness, but after a few sips, it rears its ugly head too. So what we have here is a "beer" that is fairly high in alcohol content, is fairly inexpensive and has a sweetness that tries to mask said alcohol. I wonder who would drink such a drink?

Dump. Not even Wild Blue was this horrid. I used my bathroom sink as I'm hoping this will strip that gunky shit right out of the drain. Why don't these guys just try to brew good beer? Prediction: this awful crap will be off the market by Labor Day. And then at least Poor Rascal might not need to sing the Blue(Dawg)s!

PS. I already finished another beer since dumping most of this shit. Then I burped and still tasted that raspberry crap full force. Ugh!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Italian Craft Beers


I published a short article over on UnderTheTuscanGun.com yesterday about the impressive growth of Italian Craft Beers in the past few years. I didn't really back any of it up with research or facts except by linking to a few much better articles. It was more opinion, with a few jokes and some pictures I took of Italian beers I probably won't buy because they are too expensive. Anyway, please go check it out and "Like" it! I really need some Like-ing!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Paceña

Today I'm drinking Paceña brewed by Cerveceria Boliviana Nacional in La Paz, Bolivia. Yes, that wiki link is the best I can do for a website link. I saw Bolivia and grabbed a bottle on the way out of Total Wine the other day, total impulse buy. The label is mostly gold foil, and indeed the neck and cap are covered with gold foil as well. There is a thumbnail picture of a city in front of the Andes Mountains on the front. I did get a kick out of two of the ingredients: selected cereal and Antioxydant 224. Drink 11.8 oz (350 cm3) bottle before 18JUN12.

Grainy and a little nutty aroma while also spicy and grassy. Sweet grain flavors in the beginning as well. And again, there is definitely a little of that nutty character. Faintly fruity, some hops and spiciness. There is a small unwelcome buttery flavor that took from the refreshment but not too bad. Good carbonation. Decent beer and a neck above most mass beers.

I think it's noteworthy that "The Bros" gave the beer a 94 Exceptional rating too.




Thursday, May 24, 2012

Urkontinent


Today I'm drinking Urkontinent, a Belgian-style Dubbel with just a few twists brewed by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Delaware. Here's what I mean by twists: "Wattleseed from Australia, toasted amaranth from South America, rooibos tea from Africa, myrica gale from Europe and honey from the United States." I personally muttered WTF when I read all that. Apparently Dogfish got together with Google and some tech geeks around the world to find ingredients that are representative of each continent to produce a beer that hits on the theory that all the continents were connected at one point in history. That's pretty much all the research I'm willing to do, so there!

The label art for my wine bottle appears to show some galactic seal pointing to five spots on Earth, presumably from where each ingredient came from. Honestly, I am not sure I ever heard of any of them except for the honey from North America (and don't pretend you know what they are either. It's pretty clear Google's involvement was so you'd have to Google all of them). And I sure as hell don't know what they taste like. There are also some ominous clouds hovering above everything on the label. Perhaps that was how the continents all broke apart? OK. Time for beer drinking!

Malty aroma with interesting spices. Quite the bouquet of caramel and raisins and cherries with a lightly sweet overtone. VERY Interesting flavors. I got a little coffee in the initial sip, but after a few more I didn't really taste that anymore. Rather, I was much more engulfed with chocolate and lots of cherry flavors. Over and over.

Nuances of roasted nuts come through. Flowery and with good balance. There is a definite sweet Belgian candi sugar aspect, yeasty and spicy too. But the 8% alcohol seems to knock down the sweetness and light syrupy body a notch, also adding some heat in the chest.

Damn. That cherry is really prominent. This is basically a traditional sweet dubbel, nice dark fruits and sweetness. But then some really interesting and unique spices and honey and other crazy nuances turn this into a PhD Science Fair Beer. I'd check it out again, price permitting.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Affligem Blond and the Affligem Pouring Ritual


Today I'm drinking Affligem Blond, a Belgian Abbey beer brewed by Affligem Brouwerij (click the link just to hear the monks singing, awesome) in Opwijk, Belgium. I was recently sent an Affligem Pouring Tray, Affligem glasses and a bottle of Affligem Blonde to review. I was asked to check out the pouring tray and to promote a really cool contest sponsored by Affligem and Draft Magazine. The grand prize for the contest is a trip for two to Belgium, with 200 second prizes of Affligem pouring trays and glassware. I already entered, and you should too.

To enter, you will need to watch a short video and answer one or two VERY simple questions. The video shows you how Affligem serves their beers, with the final yeast portion poured and served separately. Check their professional video out then check mine to see how my ONE-TAKE, no-edit, no-budget version compares. Be sure to leave a comment. Yeah, you're right. They should totally hire me. I don't have the cool accent but I make up for it with my charm!



 




You didn't think I was just gonna make a video and not review the product, right? The 330mL bottle has a very simple label on the front, showing a Shield for the Abbey. The back label tells a long story in microscopic type. Luckily for you, I am an excellent photographer and captured that if you'd like to read it below (click to enlarge). Basically, this brewery was founded in 1074 and is the oldest in Flanders. They have developed this beer to become one of the "Burgundies of Belgium" meaning a rich and flavorful beer. The side label also suggests you avoid the yeast unless you prefer a "nuttier" flavor. Serve at cellar temperature 44-48°F.

Nice fruity aroma. Flavors of pears and apples and peaches, really pleasant fruit flavors in the beginning and throughout. Despite following the Affligem Pouring Ritual and serving the yeast separately, this beer had a definite Belgian yeast quality. Nice spicy cloves, too. Carbonation was strong, offering a creamy yet prickly mouth feel simultaneously. Some honey nuances started to show as the beer warmed slightly. The finish is very dry with a pleasant aftertaste. Really a tasty, excellent beer. 

Oh, and I did drink the yeast 10% separately. That sample was fruity yet much more tart with a thicker texture. And it was certainly yeastier! I liked the tray and I liked the beer. Check them out and be sure to enter the contest.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cervezas Miami (And A Few Beer Reviews)

Who are those two cool guys reflecting in the window?
After Ed Roberts and I did the tour and tasting at Schnebly Redland's Winery and Brewery on Sunday, we stopped by Cervezas on the way home for a few beers. Neither of us had ever been there before, so we decided to check it out. We arrived around 3:30, which was apparently 30 minutes before they opened. LOL. So Ed and I wandered aimlessly for 20 minutes. When we returned, the staff including owner Carlos Duran were setting up tables outside and getting ready for business. We were permitted to enter a few minutes early. Very cool (to get out of the heat)!

First beer I chose was Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans. Ed grabbed a Terrapin Reunion Belgian Dubbel. We paired those and each subsequent beer with my first dose of pro basketball in quite a while. Yep, the Heat were on TV and everyone there was totally into it. The Stone beer had a nice roast and tons of vanilla. It was a nice beer overall, good texture, though I felt the vanilla was a little much. The Terrapin Reunion had great cherry and fig and raisin flavors. I initially called it out for being hot because of the alcohol, but after a few sips, Ed and I identified that sensation as some hot chillies that kept building and building.


For a donation to a local charity, I was able to sample Funky Buddha Last Snow. The aroma was incredible! The freshest, richest coffee ever with hints of chocolate around the edges. I was gonna make out with it but there wasn't enough privacy. I didn't, however, really taste any coffee flavors at all. Very surprising. There was a lot of coconut and a nice mellow malty base. Very enjoyable.

Ed and I were both asking our server about Tequesta Big Hitter. We were told it is a Red Ale and were both offered a small sample. Very sweet with malt forward flavors. The sweetness offered caramel and was even candy like. Ed compared it to a Belgian-style beer, though we didn't think that type of yeast was used in the brewing process. Balance was OK, though it definitely leaned sweet, and there was a dry finish with a hint of alcohol. Not bad.


Two All-Stars up next, way better than Lebron and D-Wade. Yes, I'm talking about Southern Tier Choklat and Brooklyn Sorachi Ace, beers you'd rat out your own mother for. The beautiful, rich, luscious chocolate flavors of Choklat, delicious all around. I do wish it were slightly sweeter but perhaps that's just me. And the wonderful fruity and lemony flavors of Sorachi Ace, tart and spicy and refreshing. Farmhouse but not really funky, just perfect.

About that time, two funny anti-craft beer events happened. A dude bellied up to the bar and ordered a Heineken for his wife. He was rejected worse than a few of the Heat players going in for layups. But this guy was persistent. His substitute request was for "a Holland lager"... and he got something. Personally, I think they should have Heineken, especially when they are using a Heineken Chalk Board in the front of their bar to advertise beer specials and events (you can see it in the first photo above).


Next, a dude who was sitting outside with his wife came in and ordered a Dogfish 60 Minute for himself and a Corona Light for his wife. He quickly said either that or the Dogfish beer with herbs. I chimed in "Saison du Buff" and he confirmed that was the one. Said she won't drink any others but those two. LOLz. What a massive difference between the two options.

Finally, Cigar City Maduro was on nitro so we had to take a run at that. Creamy and luscious, though both Ed and I felt that the aroma and flavors were totally muted. Very soft brown ale aftertaste was about it. Pictures and texture were great (see progression below), but the beer didn't seem to appreciate the way it was served.

So that's how I ended up American Craft Beer Week. Yes, I did get out to like four events, so you all can drop the "he never leaves his house" bit. From Boynton Beach to Pembroke Pines to the Redlands of Homestead to Coral Gables in a week. Yeah!



Terrapin Reunion

Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans













Funky Buddha Last Snow





Southern Tier Choklat



Cigar City Maduro on Nitro