Monday, September 18, 2017

The Iberian Pig

When you're out in Atlanta to visit Brick Store Pub for a few beers, I'd definitely recommend checking out The Iberian Pig across the square for some charcuterie and tapas! Absolutely fabulous! They also have a great wine list and offer some local craft beers. I had two awesome glasses of Creature Comforts Tropicalia IPA during my visit a few weeks ago.

Serrano, Manchego, and like six different tapas later, I was stuffed. I went with a friend who did most of the ordering and deciding what to share, but the knowledgeable staff was an excellent resource and was happy to make recommendations.

Consider this a strong suggestion for your next visit!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Beer Camp 2017 Mikkeller Thai-Style Iced Tea Ale

Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp 2017 collaboration with Mikkeller seemed to me to be one of the most interesting beers. Thai-Style Iced Tea Ale, brewed with lactose, orange peel, black tea, tamarind and star anise. Just WOW! 7.2% alcohol. PKGD 04/20/17 (and I wrote this early July, in case you care.)

Plenty of tea and a little citrus aroma. Really interesting blend of flavors. Big tea flavors with lots of orange and citrus and a giant spice basket, presumably the tamarind and star anise. Rich body, lightly sweet, and super flavorful. For me, though, the spices were a little too much. Extremely interesting but not exactly my cup of tea.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Dancing Pierre Belgian-Style Pale Ale

DeBary, Florida's Central 28 Beer Company recently started distributing a few of their beers to the Miami area. I grabbed a can of their Dancing Pierre Belgian-Style Pale Ale. Pierre is the circus bear riding the unicycle and juggling hop cones. 5.9% alcohol.

Orange citrus, yeasty, spicy cloves and hay aroma. More of the same flavor-wise. Juicy and fruity citrus to start, nicely hoppy. Tangy, orange.

There is definitely a little funkiness and Belgian yeast character, hay, subtle wet blanket. Spicy coriander, a little white pepper.

Nice beer. Could be just a little dryer, crisper, hoppier. Check it out.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Saison aux Baies Ameres

Saison aux Baies Ameres I assume translates to Saison with Chokecherries, which are apparently an inedible (for humans) bitter fruit, these particular ones found in Colorado. Apparently though, Left Hand was able to use them as an ingredient in this saison, and sets your expectations on the side of the pounder can. 6.8% alcohol. 10 IBU. Best By 12/11/2017.

Aroma is faint, maybe a little fruit and a little spice. Soft, fruity flavors to start with some lightly tart cherry flavors coming from the fruity addition. Spicy, definitely some yeasty character. The tartness and acidity add some wine-like interest. Very smooth, easy drinker. I liked the fruity addition and the subtle nuances it added to this saison.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Clown Shoes Baked Goods Hoppy Pale Ale

OK I admit it. I bought a can of Clown Shoes Baked Goods Hoppy Pale Ale because of the name and artwork on the can. Well, that and the fact that every beer I've tasted from this brewery is solid. The scene on the can is a Clown Shoe-shaped fighter space craft blasting baked space debris.

"OUR MISSION: To Produce Beer Without Pretension While Being Free and a Little Crazy" Canned 06/23/17. 5.5% alcohol.

Citrusy, tangy aroma. Very dry from the start. Orange and grapefruit citrus rind flavors are hoppy and sharp. Bitter and aggressively astringent! With a little warmth, however, some of those sharp edges are rounded off. That is highly recommended. With warmth, a nice juicy, tangy, orange jammy sweetness shines.

Definitely delivered on "Hoppy Pale Ale." Remember... let it warm up a bit.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Beer Camp 2017 Tree House Brewing East Meets West IPA

Yeah, I'm still publishing about Beer Camp 2017 beers. Heck, they are still for sale at my local Total Wine. So why not? Here's Sierra Nevada's collaboration with Tree House Brewing: East Meets West IPA. And although this particular pounder can was packaged 04/28/17, I wrote this back in late June (so it was pretty fresh). 7.0% alcohol.

Soft, fruity aroma. Nice tropical fruity and juicy flavors to start, even more pronounced with a little warmth. Spicy, hoppy, lots of pine and citrus zest, yet not a hop bomb or overly bitter. Nicely balanced. Dry at the finish with some lingering bitterness. Flavorful, nice beer.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Kapitan's Kolsch

A few month's ago, I checked out Biscayne Bay's Kapitan's Kolsch at the brewery. They recently started bottling a few of their beers including the Kolsch, so I grabbed a bottle to have at home. The label is black and white with some gold foil lettering and features an anchor stating "Landfall 1513."

"Everyday is a voyage, the destination is up to you." 4.8% alcohol.

Lightly sweet and grainy aroma. Sweet grainy flavors met with nice, bitter nips. A little grassy with crackers and a touch of honey. Crisp and refreshing.

My local liquor store manager told me he thought the packaging looked hurried and because of that and this relatively unknown style, that there would be a few cases left when this is "out of date." I told him to let me know when it goes on sale because I'll buy it all. But go ahead, prove him wrong!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Green Zebra Gose

Founders brewed Green Zebra Gose for ArtPrize 2017 and today's the day to give it a whirl! The can features a green zebra with light green stripes, interesting. This gose was brewed with watermelon and sea salt and canned on 08.18.17. 4.6% alcohol.

Softly fruity, lightly salty aroma. Nice sweet, juicy watermelon flavors to start. A little tart nudge comes next but is fairly subtle. A dry, saline finish balances the fruity aspects and lingers long into the finish.

Salt complements the watermelon perfectly. Not really tart at all, and I would have loved a bit more bite to this. Refreshing and flavorful, nonetheless.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Lune de Miel

Today I'm checking out Unibroue's Lune de Miel, which translates to Honeymoon. And yes, the brewery used honey in this beer's bottle refermentation process. This is a Belgian Style Amber Ale. Best By 05-29-20. 8% alcohol. 22 IBU.

Nice pop of the cap! Fruity, yeasty, sweet and spicy aroma, very pleasant. Rich honey flavors are complemented by soft apple and cantaloupe fruitiness. Texture and flavors somewhat like a tripel. Floral, spicy cloves, a little herbal.

There is some definite yeasty Belgian character, and the alcohol adds a little kick and heat in the throat while enhancing the spiciness. I have other Unibroue beers that I like more (La Fin du Monde), but not a bad addition to their lineup.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Brick Store Pub Revisit

A few weeks ago, I happened to be in Atlanta for business. Since my sister lives there, I stayed with her family for a few days. My last visit was about three years ago, when I was first introduced to the Brick Store Pub. This trip, when my sister wasn't paying attention, my brother-in-law and I snuck out and went for lunch and a few beers.

I was going to check out the really local options from Wild Heaven and Wrecking Bar, but since both of those places were on the agenda for the days to follow, I tried some other interesting options.

Starting with... Greenville, South Carolina's Birds Fly South Biggie Guava Berliner Weiss. Nicely tart, sweet fruity balance, tasty. Second... Manchester, England's Cloudwater NW DIPA Citra BBC Simcoe. Awesome peach, pineapple, tropical aroma and flavors with an excellent hoppy bitter streak!

My brother-in-law has a few saisons, preferring the Jester King Provenance Lemon and Lime. Anyway, highly recommended to visit! This place is fun, be sure to go upstairs and walk around and check it all out! I'll be back!

Birds Fly South Biggie Guava Berliner Weiss

Cloudwater NW DIPA Citra BBC Simcoe

VooDoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin

OK. Sitting here in Miami on a Saturday morning waiting to see what this bitch #HurricaneIrma has in store for us. A few days ago, I checked out New Belgium's VooDoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin, my first pumpkin beer of the year. I decided to try something that seemed a little less typical than the normal dreadful onslaught of overly-spiced seasonals.

Yes, thank you. I am aware that this was brewed with cinnamon and habaneros and certainly expected spiciness, just was hoping for less of the pumpkin pie spices. 6.4% alcohol.

Lots of cinnamon and spicy heat in the nose. Some sweet pumpkin flavors come first but are immediately engulfed with tons of cinnamon and fireball candy flavors. The spicy, peppery habaneros make no mistake introducing heat to your lips and throat as well.

There are some spicy "pie" flavors too, nutmeg and allspice, but I got my wish for a different type of pumpkin beer. Unfortunately, the pumpkin was almost non-existent while the cinnamon and pepper flavors dominated everything else. Not a fan.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Goose Island Juicy Double DIPA

Bright orange beer bottle says Goose Island Juicy Double DIPA? OK, I'm in! This beer was brewed with orange juice. 8.3% alcohol. 70 IBU. PKGD 24MAY17

Very juicy aroma full of orange sweetness. Similar fruity, juicy, sweet orange flavors to start. Those flavors build then fall off a cliff into some citrus and spicy bitterness. Pretty cool--I liked that aspect.

Fruity orange then lingers into the finish. Pretty good beer, a little one-dimensional and certainly not mind blowing though it was tasty. However, I am positive this brewery could have made this beer stand out if they wanted to. Was this a "dumbed down" DIPA for more mass appeal under the influence of the real brewery owners?

Friday, August 25, 2017

Hop Revolver IPA: Mandarina Bavaria

I recently grabbed a mixed 12 pack of Stone IPAs. Stone Hop Revolver IPA, Mandarina Bavaria, was one of the inclusions. I hadn't seen it sold separately (or any of the other beers in this single-hop series.)

The intention of doing this series is to demonstrate just how much one hop can affect a beer. This idea isn't new, but my guess is that the IPA masters at Stone will do it best! 7.7% alcohol. Bottled on 07/13/17.

Fruity and floral aroma. Interesting and unique flavors. Tangerines and tropical mangoes come first. Floral, tangy, hint of honey and a little spiciness. While there is a nice dose of hoppy bitterness, the sweeter components definitely are not overwhelmed.

Simple yet beautiful and flavorful. I guess that means I'm a fan of this hop variety. I'll look forward to trying others in the series for comparisons and contrasts.

Thursday, August 24, 2017


Today I'm checking out Modern Times LomaLand. This saison comes packaged in pounder cans, with the story on the back setting your expectations of a beer that smells like "hay, pepper, and friendly sunshine." 5.5% alcohol. 30 IBU.

Aroma full of hay, yeast, pepper, crackers, a little spicy. Spicy and peppery flavors as well to start. There is a touch of honey sweetness that adds some additional character. After the initial flavors ease, you will not miss the large dose of cracker flavors and a nicely hoppy finish.

Soft on the palate, not overly spicy or overly yeasty. It is, however, very flavorful and refreshing, a great beer. One of the best saisons I've had in a while! Check it out!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

DemiSemiSeptcentennial Pale Ale

While down in Ocean City, NJ a few weeks back, I picked up a sixer of  Cape May Brewing's DemiSemiSeptcentennial Pale Ale to see what was being brewed locally. This beer was brewed by two Villanova grads in celebration of the University's 175th anniversary. There is a story on the label to set your expectations for this "veritable Professor of Suds." 4.5% alcohol. 30 IBU.

Floral, citrus aroma. Same for the flavors, lots of sharp orange, rind, pretty bitter indeed. Nicely fruity and a little tangy. Hints of astringency and a very dry finish. I liked it but perhaps a touch of sweet relief would have rounded this out more. Check it out and ask your friends what number anniversary is represented by the DemiSemiSeptcentennial (before looking at the bottle.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Visit to Wild Heaven Beer

I'm the cool shadow guy!
Five years ago, my sister got married in Atlanta, approximately October, 2012. Of course I checked out the local Kroger at that time for a few new beers with both Wild Heaven's Ode to Mercy Imperial Brown Ale and Invocation Belgian-Style Golden Ale on the shelves.

A recent business trip brought me back to the Decatur neighborhood of Atlanta. So of course, a brewery tour of Wild Heaven was in order. I use "tour" in the loosest sense since the tour was "self guided" and forced me to read a bunch of posters on easels (and do zero touring). I've been on beer tours before too, a lot of them, spoke to employees about their process, saw some behind-the-scenes stuff, even put on closed-toe shoes. None of that happened here.

Anyway, not to detract from this experience, but I feel I need to say that the Georgia legislature (fucking blows and) needs to amend their current laws to help breweries succeed! The loopholes (tours and souvenir beer, come on) are keeping them in business, but a friendly business-first legislature could mean all the difference! Someone please step up because selling "tours" is killing breweries and business AND REVENUE (here's an article for you locals to bitch at those people until they cave).

So my sister and I arrived in the narrow 6-9 Thursday window opening for this brewery tour. You'll be glad to know that they published new 4-11 hours for the same day of the week starting 9/1/17. By chance, we stopped by on a doggie friendly day, so there were Labs, weiner dogs, and others all night. There was also an adoption charity there, and I swear my sister would have taken one of those puppies home that night (except for "the man" and "the process" of the adoption center).

The ONLY moment nobody was walking by all night! It was pretty busy.

Dude. You know we drank beer. They were all part of the tour we purchased! We drank beer along the "tour route" the whole night! I did really enjoy the atmosphere and non-cookie-cutter approach to the brewery design and experience. Cool look into the brewery, seats and tables next to their barrel aging program, big fans, no AC, outdoor experience, laid back, tucked in an unsuspecting neighborhood.

With our tickets, we tried every single beer on tap and took home the max allowed by law. And we still had a few tickets left for another time. I am planning on another post with some thoughts on the beers we tasted, but I will say that we thoroughly enjoyed Ode to Mercy Nitrode, Emergency Drinking Beer with watermelon, Invocation, Eschaton, Wise Blood IPA and White Blackbird Saison (um, is that all of them?).

I bought a mixed sixer of all of their core beers on the way out. If you want to know what I thought of each, here is your link! Be patient!

Monday, August 21, 2017

2nd Story Brewing Revisit

I'm sure you remember #EpicPhillyBreweryTour from 2015 right? Well, my wife and I had a few hours to kill in Philly again this year before heading to the annual Ocean City destination. Well, duh, we headed back to 2nd Story Brewing!

We actually were looking for an authentic Philly Cheesesteak nearby before they opened, and while we found a spot open for 90 years or so, we were both really disappointed with what we got. "The Works" seemed super dry, missing a lot of toppings and flavor and juiciness. And "cash only" is bullshit! That's for lazy businesses. Charge more if you're scared away by banking fees! I will send you the name/pics if you know how to reach me.

Anyway, we landed at 2nd Story to a busier scene this year (first time was a weekday, 1130 am; this was Saturday noon). But we managed seats at the bar, though frankly the rest of the place would have been just as great!

OK. It's noon. I gotta do the AC Expressway. Need to be in control (resisted the Bourbon Bar)! One flight, shared. One beer! Oh and despite being super full from dry cheesesteaks, my wife ordered a giant serving of soft pretzels with a few dipping sauces. Honestly, I wasn't hungry, but I wanted them to be more "pretzel-like" and less bready, doughy. I still shoved half in my face!

Beers: we tried a Kolsch, a Session IPA, a Wit and an IPA. My wife loved the Kolsch and Session IPA; I grabbed a full glass of the Declaration IPA, so you know where my tastes went.

Anyway, on the way out, had to ask the dude w the purple dreadlocks ponytail thingy to stop leaning on my ride. He also seemed immune to the steady rain.

Check out 2nd Street Brewing! Tell your friends. Shit, I'm surprised these guys don't give flyers out to the line waiting to see the Liberty Bell a few blocks away! Just an idea!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Beer Camp 2017 Surly Brewing Ginger Lager

Sierra Nevada collaborated with Surly Brewing to create a Ginger Lager for the 2017 Beer Camp series. This is a lager brewed with ginger and cayenne and fermented on Oak. Pounder Can. 6.2% alcohol.

You know what? Sometimes I'm wrong. There, I said it. Feel better? But not with my notions on what this beer would be like. Maybe the "abrasive attitude" part of the story on the can combined with the ingredients is what set those. EXACTLY what I expected!

Grainy aroma with a LOT of ginger. Tasty lager backdrop to start with nicely sweet grain and honey and a touch of oak and even vanilla. But this beer is spicy as fuck, and I'm not even talking about the perfect addition of cayenne and its beautiful subtle heat and spicy welcomeness!

Nope. This is a ginger mess. As a reminder, I drink Ginger Ale practically every single day and LOVE it, so this isn't ginger hatred. But for real, ginger took over this beer after just a few sips. Way overdone. Had to dump most of the beer. Hated it.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Fugli Fruit IPA

Oskar Blues Fugli Fruit IPA. OK, I'm in. This beer was brewed with Japanese Yuzu and Jamaican Ugli fruits. 5.8% alcohol. Canned On 05/09/17.

Very bright, tangy, lemony citrus, fragrant, floral aroma!

Similar flavors. Start with a nice base IPA, full of pine, floral and a hint of caramel sweetness. Citrus balance then a very distinct sour bitter citrus piling on. Guess that's these two fruits.

Not bad but I found the two fruits, the sour addition, and those flavors building with each sip to be a turnoff. Guess I'll drink this Dale's instead!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Kiko Santiago IPA

Who is Kiko Santiago? I usually ask questions like that then get a lot of  "duh" type replies. So let's see this time. Coppertail Brewing recently released Kiko Santiago IPA, their first beer in the Alpha Hunt Series.

The label art is fantastic as usual, looks like Kiko might have met his match this time! The featured hop in this beer is Mandarina Bavaria. 6.2% alcohol. Enjoy By 10/06/17

Fruity, peachy, tropical tangerines, beautiful aroma. Similar flavors, full of tropical peaches and nectarines. There is a great bitter balance that follows with some nice tanginess. Flavors are all pretty subtle and soft, working in harmony and none in your face. Perfectly matched sweet and bitter intensities, a subtle IPA.

I liked it. Different. Kiko must be a man of few words.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Boris The Spider Russian Imperial Stout

 A few bottles of Boris The Spider Russian Imperial Stout came home to Miami from Long Island with one of my friends who likes to share! Boris is guarding a few glasses of his stout on the label. 10% alcohol. Bottled On 01/13/2017

Cocoa and coffee aroma, very nice. Rich and creamy to start, full of cocoa powder, coffee then followed by prunes and a hint of cherries. Just a touch of char and roast and smoke round this out, along with a little heat in the chest.

Initially sweet, but a bitter answer does come. The pruney flavors though do build and detract from the other flavors. Not bad but that one element for me was unwelcome. Check it out.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sierra Nevada 2017 Oktoberfest Festbier

Today I'm checking out the 2017 version of  Sierra Nevada's Oktoberfest. Every year they brew a new beer in collaboration with a different German brewer, this year Brauhaus Miltenberger. A story on the back label gives you a little insight and sets your expectations. 6.1% alcohol.

Grainy sweet aroma, plenty of dark bread and a hint of nuttiness. Flavors are similar, full of grain and honey and dark bread. While there is a background sweetness, there is a bitter hoppy answer. Some spiciness, toast, light herbalness, again can't stop thinking there is some nutty character. Not bad.