Thursday, June 30, 2016

Terrapin Watermelon Gose

A Terrapin beer without the turtle on the label? Yep! I grabbed a can of their Watermelon Gose earlier to check out. This can was awesomely decorated as a watermelon! A short description ends with "What gose 'round comes around!" 4.5% alcohol. Best By 11.24.16

Head was little and super fleeting! Watermelon sweet and briny aroma. Watermelon flavors come first and are intertwined with some lemon. Lightly tart, no pucker. Slightly prickly mouthfeel. Oh, and this is quite salty.

Watermelon flavors are nice and contrast well with the briny and tart aspects, but I honestly wanted a bigger watermelon flavor and more sweet fruity balance. I guess I'm just a (watermelon) lover! I pretty much eat watermelon every day for 8 months of the year! Anyway, nice beer and very refreshing.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Rogue 7 Hop IPA

Recently loved Rogue's Honey Kolsch. And I noticed a few other new beers from them, brewed with ingredients from Rogue Hop Farms. These new beers are similarly branded with just a simple brown paper label, small illustration and simple description.  I grabbed the 7 Hop IPA. In this case the number 7 is illustrated using 7 hop cones, simple but I like it. 7.77% alcohol.

Aroma pretty faint, though some orange and citrus show through. Flavors are also super subtle, though there are many delicious nuances that come together to create this beer. Sweet and tropical, citrus orange and tangerine, very juicy, even a hint of honey.

Fresh, spicy, touch of pine and definitely good bitterness. Really nuanced, no dominant flavors jump out. Really nice all around. I really liked this beer.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Fat Tire & Friends: Fat Hoppy Ale

To celebrate their 25th Anniversary, New Belgium worked with five other breweries to create different versions of their flagship Fat Tire beer. You can now find a mixed Fat Tire and Friends CollaBEERation 12-pack with two of each alongside a pair of the original beer.

I started with their Fat Hoppy Ale, a West Coast Inspired hoppy version of Fat Tire brewed in collaboration with Firestone Walker Brewing (I visited their LA Provisions brewery a few months ago and plan to post pics soon). Each label names the unique beer, the brewery they worked with and a little story. Enjoy By 16OCT16. 6.0% alcohol.

Awesome aroma, full of bright orange and citrus alongside tropical and candy sweetness. Tropical fruity flavors start, answered by hoppy citrus. Sweet and bitter, great contrast. Bready, sourdoughy, yeasty qualities show. Lightly spicy with a bitter-leaning finish. Very nice and I hope the rest of the collaborations are just as good!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Saint Arnold Beer Dinner at Vienna Cafe & Wine Bar

This past Wednesday evening, Saint Arnold Brewing and Stephens Distributing hosted a beer dinner at Vienna Cafe & Wine Bar in Davie, Florida. When my wife and I arrived, we already knew Saint Arnold's Florida Beer Rep Dan Von Husen was inside ready to lead us through a presentation of the brewery and their beers. That's because we parked next to his hand-painted Art Car! And then we posed for pictures!

Vienna Cafe & Wine Bar is a quaint restaurant located just of I-595 near Pine Island Road. It's been around since 1999, and I must have passed by hundreds of times when I used to work in the area. But this was my first experience dining there. Pretty nice decor, comfortable.

Jamie from Stephens and Duh, me

We chatted with Dan and some of the other early birds while we waited for a few more people to arrive. We reminisced about Saint Arnold's launch in the South Florida market less than one year ago over at Riverside Market. In the end, our group of around 20 sat to enjoy a guided beer pairing dinner, including an old curmudgeon I'll call Mr. Arguer.

First dish B.L.T. White Water Clams was a playful deconstructed BLT interpretation served with Saint Arnold's two Kolsches, Fancy Lawnmower and Santo Black Kolsch. I fancied the Fancy Lawnmower while most of the rest of the guests asked for seconds of Santo. Mr. Arguer asked a lot of questions about how the Santo got its color.

BLT White Water Clams
Dan took those questions all in stride as he told us the history of Saint Arnold and the Brewery. Apparently Saint Arnold was known for telling the villagers 1600 years ago to drink beer instead of water because of safety reasons. He earned Sainthood 700 or so years after his death (don't quote me on that, go check Wiki for better data) after a mug of beer was passed around an entire community during a burial procession without ever running dry (yeah, I know, it's a Bible story reinvented).

Next course... Braised Poulet Rouge with portobello mushrooms, walnuts and raisin bread pudding served with Saint Arnold Ale Wagger Brown Ale, one of the brewery's two original beers dating to 1994. Apparently when the brewery upgraded to a larger space a few years into their story, the abandoned warehouse had dozens of stray dogs living there. Founder Brock Wagner made a point to find adoption homes for each animal, including the last one for himself. The brewery continues to support and connect with the communities where they distribute beer with similar animal charity.

Tim from Stephens and Dan from Saint Arnold
Mr. Arguer wanted to know why the "copper ale" he was drinking was called a brown ale. Dan told him it's an award-winning brown ale and that beer naming is open to interpretation. That didn't really stop the back-and-forth, so Dan went to see if we could hear from the chef about the food... NOPE, they don't do that there. They just send him out at the end, LOL. "That's the way we do it!"

The Next Course was a Surf and Turf made up of Blackened Yellowtail Snapper and Smoked Kurobuta Pork. Both were MONEY!$! Both were on the spicy end but our beer samples of Elissa IPA and Art Car IPA (yeah, named after the cars, which got their name from an iconic Houston parade where everyone wildly decorates their cars) took care of that. Mr. Arguer wanted to know how you could make an English-style IPA without English-style hops. By then, we were all chuckling under our breath, pretty entertaining stuff!

Dessert time! Pumpkin Creme Brulee with Dark Chocolate Torte made with and served with Saint Arnold Pumpkinator! No this wasn't Saint Arnold's 2016 version put out in June to compete with that brewery from Easton. This was a 2015 Dan had squirreled away, and the brewery actually won't even release 2016 until October 17th! Anyway, this dessert kicked ass! And the beer was good too, for a pumpkin beer, my least favorite style. LOL.

My favorite dishes were the Surf and Turf and Dessert. I was going to tell the chef too but... well, as promised, he paraded himself out at the end, asked if everything was good, really didn't try to interact with us at all, no one said anything and it was a little awkward. At which point he turned around and left, less than one minute flat. I didn't even catch his name. Good thing he's good at cooking food!

Favorite beers: Art Car IPA and Fancy Lawnmower. Again, the dinner was excellent. The company was even better. And the service trumped everything! Definitely check this place out-don't let the offset location in a strip mall fool you! Thanks for a great evening!

One last note. While we were at this dinner, a huge crowd was forming down in Doral at MIA Brewing for a memorial to honor founder and brewer Piero Rodriguez. Piero was killed in a car accident in the early morning just this past Sunday. The attendees of our dinner chatted a little bit about that and said a little cheers in remembrance! Very sad situation!

Dan with the Mystery Chef waving
Braised Poulet Rouge

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Longshot 2015 Neighborino Flanders Red Ale

Pretty cool picture right? Colin Foy put his Neighborino Flanders Red Ale together for a winning entry into this 2015 Samuel Adams Longshot competition winner. Colin blended younger beer with barrel-aged beer and introduced Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus to create this beer. 6.3% alcohol. 10 IBU.

Fruity, lightly tart aroma. Similar start with some fruity orange sweetness paired with cherry tartness. Vinegary, acidic, woody, a little dry. Chewy body. Flavors are OK. Pretty tame for the style -- I wanted a little more sour tart sharpness and bite, even as a non-sour lover.

Pretty much what I expected though: a beer that probably barely stepped out of the comfort area of Sam Adams drinkers. Not bad.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Brooklyn Brewery Beer Dinner at Russo's Coal Fired Italian Kitchen

Does that look like an Italian restaurant menu to you?
Everyone knows that Russo's Coal Fired Italian Kitchen in Pembroke Pines makes kick-ass pizzas and strombolis. I was there with my family eating both on Easter Sunday not that long ago. But I bet you didn't know that Chef Jason Arroyo has also created spectacular specialty menus in conjunction with Russo's new monthly beer dinner series, now with six editions under their belt.

Last night I had the opportunity to taste a fabulous dinner featuring the beers of Brooklyn Brewery. Brewmaster Garrett Oliver was not available. However, Phil from Distributor Gold Coast and Brooklyn Brand Ambassador Jorge were the perfect beer complements to Chef Jason's food introductions. And I guarantee that you'll be surprised with all the innovative non-traditional Italian dishes we were served!

Chef Arroyo and Gold Coast's Phil
In addition to last night, I also attended the Anchor Brewing dinner (where Brewmaster Scott Ungermann actually did show; take note Garrett) and the 21st Amendment Brewery dinner.  Check those out for more awesome beer and food pictures, also prepping you for what to expect when you sign up for the next one!

The next monthly beer dinner is actually already scheduled for 7/25/16 and I will definitely edit in the brewery name once it's confirmed, but considering the success these events have enjoyed, I'd suggest giving Karla a call to reserve your spot ASAP 954-431-1131.

Now, here's a recap from last night with some sub-par pictures of exquisite food. When you go to a Russo's beer dinner, you can also expect some giveaways, bonus beers, and fantastic service. The beers are mostly served on draft and refills come as needed, the best way to handle a dinner like this as every person is different.

Korean Fried Octopus

We started with Korean Fried Octopus paired with Sorachi Ace! Dude! Yeah! It was amazing! Follow that with oven-roasted bone marrow schmeared on some awesome toast? OMG!

Adobo Braised Chicken and Braised Oxtail Rottollo were next. While every single dish was spectacular (seriously, home runs), my favorites were the Octopus and the dessert... Chocolate Torte with bruleed hazelnut meringue and malted ice cream. Spectacular, and paired with Brooklyn's Monster Ale, also a mega-treat!

Along the way, Gold Coast treated the diners to a few bonus beers. Honestly, I could have kept drinking that Framboisie all night long. And yeah, Black Ops (Russian Imperial Stout) does exist. We got to try a few bottles in our own take home snifters that had been aged for several years!

Again, this is a must-try series of beer dinners. Russo's is located conveniently on Pines Blvd. with I-75. Call Karla and you will hear all about the next dinner! See you there

Roasted Bone Marrow
Jorge with a full glass of Framboisie
Adobo Braised Chicken
Braised Oxtail Rottollo
Cool Brooklyn Brewery T-Shirt!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Genesee Brew House IPA

I recently had the chance to check out Genesee Brew House Pilsner. Today, the Brew House IPA! As good as that pilsner was, I had money betting this beer was going to be a wimpy, boring, low alcohol wannabe IPA. Upon checking the label, um, a 100 IBU 7.0% alcohol beast was in front of me! This ain't Genny Light!

Fruity and hoppy aroma, full of citrus orange. Hoppy citrus bitterness comes first, pretty sharp and intense. Some background caramel adds just a little touch of sweetness. However, the lemony citrus builds more with each sip, bringing a dry and astringent quality.

Alcohol shows. Citrus flavors and big bitterness linger way into the finish. Not bad but while I loved the bitterness, I definitely wanted a little more sweetness to round this beer out! Not wimpy or boring in any way either!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Beer Camp 2016 Moxee-Moron Imperial Session IPA

Today I'm trying Moxee-Moron Imperial Session IPA, the Beer Camp entry highlighting the "hop-bomb heritage" of the Pacific Northwest. The brewers from Bale Breaker, Barley Brown's, Black Raven, Melvin Brewing and Odell decided to make an Imperial Session IPA clocking in at 7.5% alcohol.

My guess is that these guys don't respect the traditional ultra-low alcohol label required to be called a session beer. But for real, 7.5% isn't session by any definition. So when the team was brainstorming a beer name for their oxy-moronic name, the guys from Sierra Nevada reminded them that Moxee, WA is in Main Street Yakima Valley! And there's your name: Moxee-Moron Imperial Session IPA! 70 IBU. PKGD 04/05/16

Citrus and tropical orange aroma. Similar flavors to start, tropical orange and citrus. However, there is also a resinous, dank, fresh bitterness that accompanies that brief sweet start. Spicy, peppery. Some alcohol and dryness show at the finish as well.

Little balance, as promised, a hop bomb. "Weed like" resinous aftertaste lingers until you wash it away with your next sip! One of the best in the box.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Rogue Honey Kolsch

Today I'm checking out Rogue Honey Kolsch brewed with Rogue Farms HopYard Honey. I saw a few pictures online showing this beer bottled in those old ceramic bottles Rogue was known for. And the bottle on this beer's page on their site is a bomber with a clear label.

I saw this 12 oz bottle for the first time last night at the liquor store, pretty plain, just showing a few bees on the label. "DARE. RISK. DREAM." appears on the neck label.  5.0% alcohol.

Pleasant honey sweet aroma with a floral touch. Tangy and grainy flavors to start. Grassy, lemony, hoppy, nicely sharp with a nice honey addition that is totally noticeable. Crisp meets body, great balance. Nice flavors and bitterness linger in the finish. Wife said "really good" and I concur. Was the winner with three other solid beers we tried today!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Longshot 2015 Nanzer's Belgian Golden Ale

Tonight I'm checking out Nanzer's Belgian Golden Ale, a Longshot American Homebrew Competition 2015 winner brewed by Kevin Nanzer. His homebrew caricature on the label has him spooning something into a growler; he's also all blinged out, sporting NANZ on his fingers. 9.1% alcohol. 18 IBU,

Fruity and spicy aroma. Flavors are the same, but way more pronounced. Apples, pears, oranges give a fruity sweetness at that beginning with a touch of honey as well. Rich body but not too sweet, just "comfy sweet."

You won't miss the Belgian yeast character which comes along with some spicy peppers and cloves. Juicy, a hint of citrus bitterness. Oh, and the alcohol, a little whack enhancing the spiciness.

Very good, seems like it's missing some nuances and elevated flavors, but a definite winner!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Helles Belles

Helles Belles? Pretty good name for this Ninkasi Brewing lager, which the brewery website lists as part of their #HellesYes tour! Last night, as I was closing down my local South Florida Total Wine (who BTW got this second shipment of Oregon's Ninkasi beers in another brewery direct deal), my cashier from Portland wanted to chat about the newly redesigned labels and her excitement about their availability here.

I was going to ask her for her phone number, but my wife was with me! The label is pretty cool with two big church bells surrounded by little thumbnails of birds, barley and hops. 5.3% alcohol. 28 IBU. The story on the back label puts you in the mood, ending with a brewery catchphrase "Perpetuate Better Living."

Pleasant grainy sweet aroma, not pronounced. Similar flavors, sweet and toasty, answered by great bitterness. Clean and refreshing with some sharp, hoppy nips, light spice at the palate.

Was expecting a little more but not bad, definitely tasty. Could easily put down a sixer (tonight)!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Light in the Window Rye IPA

A Pounder Can of Burlington Beer's Light in the Window Rye IPA you say? OK! The label is similar to their other cans, some geometric-totem-pole-Ancient-Egypt-pyramid-type stuff, this time in green on white. 5.9% alcohol.

Fruity, lightly spicy aroma, not that strong. Flavors are more BLAM! Sweet orange-ade to start. That is met with lots of spicy rye. LOTS! Did I say a shitload of rye?

Anyway, I love me some rye, but in this beer what I actually ended up wanting was more of the fruity orange flavors that got drowned out early on. If rye is your bestest friend ever, this is your beer! For me, it was over the top and got a bit annoying, especially in a pounder!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Shot Down Chocolate Stout

Shot Down Chocolate Stout? Obviously the hottie blonde eating chocolate on the can label is the one shooting you down! To the side, Fort Collins Brewery lets you know to expect a "lush dark beer... [with] a fearless flavor profile... Never be afraid to get shot down." Pairs well with: Pork Mole, Cinnamon Coffee Cake. 5.8% alcohol.

Nice choco-caramel aroma. Creamy with lots of chocolate flavors to start, but it's immediately apparent that this beer is super flat. Good coffee flavors with some roast, yet kind of thin. Sweet with a hoppy balance.

Was OK. Body was weak and the flatness was a big minus. NOT lush, NOT fearless and NOT rich by any definition of any of those words! Pass for many other better options.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Meyer Lemon Lager

After enjoying Anchor Brewing's Mango Wheat recently, I decided to check out their other new beer: Meyer Lemon Lager. Again, the can is decorated with a woman with flowing hair. This time she's blonde and holding a pair of lemons instead. 4.5% alcohol.

Light, fruity aroma, very subtle lemon. Flavors are also very subtle, though lemon shows through and does build some momentum after a few sips. Nicely tart with a tangy zip. Simple, refreshing drinker!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Biere de Provence Saison

Saw a new Dogfish beer today: Biere de Provence Saison, brewed with Lavender, Marjoram and Bay Leaves. The label has an illustration that shows off a fabulous garden of those herbs and flowers. The story to the side lets you know those fields in Provence are the inspiration for the beer. 8.3% alcohol.

Flowery, herbal, faintly fruity aroma. Smells like a store at the mall! Herbal flavors are big but tough to pinpoint individually. Flowery for sure, lots of lavender. Also, nicely fruity with apples and pears and light peach. Subtle honey, nice body.

Belgian yeast definitely shows, spicy, lightly peppery. While the full alcohol is mostly hidden, you will notice a little kick in the finish, enhancing the herbal and spiciness to the forefront.

Definitely drinking a bouquet by the end. Not in love but uber-interesting, unique, and I for sure got what was promised!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Genesee Brew House Pilsner

Genesee recently sent me their two newest Brew House Pilot Batch beers: IPA and North German-Style Pilsner. Brewmaster Dean Jones created recipes for two of the most popular styles. I started with the Pilsner. 5.0% alcohol.

Grainy aroma with a lot of bread. Similar flavors of bread and dough, a sweet start. Nice floral bitterness balances that perfectly, lasting well past the finish. Clean, crisp, refreshing, simple. I really liked it, and so did my wife.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Lucky 13

I grabbed a bunch of beers today at the liquor store. Arriving home, my nosy neighbor was checking out my stash and asking a bunch of questions. I sent him on his way with bottles of Festina Peche, Limbo IPA, All Day IPA (yeah, a can), and today's review, Lagunitas Lucky 13, A MONDO LARGE RED ALE! I'm pretty sure he's going to wish he were drinking Coors Light! But hopefully he won't come around so often! LOL!

Some of you that have known me for a long time might get a kick out of this original review of this beer from 6.5 years ago! What's changed? My palate, Lucky 13 comes in 12 oz bottles now, and maybe Lagunitas brews beer better now than in 2009!?!

I think the label is identical, same hot chick in a horseshoe, fitted to a smaller bottle. "We brewed this deeply hued ale in celebration of our first profitable business year in 2006. Beer is still a bronze-age human endeavor and we feel honored to have the chance to leave our footprints on its winding path into history while leaving our ideas on adventure on your buds. Cheers!" 8.8% alcohol.

Nice aroma full or caramel sweetness and a touch of hops. Rich caramel, honey, brown sugar start. Super malty. An excellent hoppy and spicy answer comes next. Tangerine citrus, tangy and herbal flavors.

Sticky big body. Alcohol dangerously hidden. Definitely has that "Lagunitas taste." Honestly, I'm not sure where the 55 IBU are hidden in the beer and think Lucky 13 could have used much more of a bitter challenge to the sweet flavors. Regardless, a definite winner despite the sweetness!

Monday, June 6, 2016

It's Complicated Being a Wizard Extra IPA

It's Complicated Being a Wizard Extra IPA? Um, sure I'll try it. Actually a friend of mine's brother brought back a mixed 4-pack of pounder cans from a trip to Burlington, VT, the home of Burlington Beer Company (duh).

This particular can is white with blue lettering, well lettering and a very interesting science experiment type artwork.7.5% alcohol. Oh, and seriously cool name, I must say!

Pleasantly sweet fruity aroma, though fairly distant. Same flavor start, tropical peaches and mangoes. However, after a few sips, things start to change. Citrus and lemon start to ramp up their passions. Spicy, grassy and lots of "rind" zestiness build. Definitely leans bitter after just a few tastes.

At the end of each sip, you will not miss the alcohol, also lingering into the finish. Honestly, my wife said this tasted like gasoline, though she is a bit dramatic. Some good flavors, alcohol is a turn off, and overall, "not bad" in a sea of awesome options.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Hash Session IPA

I loved Sweetwater's Hop Hash DIPA! So for sure I had to check out baby brother Hash Session IPA. Enjoy by 05/17/16 whew made it by 2 days! 4.2% alcohol. You can read the story on the label for yourself, though I'd probably drink a glass of bourbon first then try to interpret.

Floral, fruity with some dank hoppy character and just a hint of tropical sweetness. Lemony citrus flavors, tangy, floral, herbal. Some "hash" resinous flavors build as well, but overall this is a pretty thin beer. Definitely leans way bitter though some tropical fruity sweetness holds out in the background.

Super dry and astringent, mega cotton-mouth at the finish. So-so, not close to in love.