Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Visit To Barrel of Monks Brewing

After stopping by Holy Mackerel's The Garage Project, my wife and I headed north to Boca Raton to visit Barrel of Monks Brewing. The tasting room was pretty busy when we arrived, but we managed to grab two seats at the main bar. There were plenty of other tables and couches to lounge in alternatively. The decor was very nice, comfortable, interesting lighting and other pieces.

We decided on our first flight and just as it was being served, our friend and local beer artist Rob Lloyd (who I guess followed us from Holy Mackerel) showed up. He seemed to know everyone and even asked if I wanted to meet owner Bill McFee.

Of course I said yes and we walked over to a table on the other side of the room. After being introduced and letting Bill know what a nice place he had, I noticed he was sitting right next to my buddies Mike and Ruth from BonBeerVoyage! I hadn't seen them in a while, but very nice people! And dude, you want to go on a beer tour of Belgium and France? They are your people! They also do Asheville, California and Germany and probably other places!

OK. The Beers! We tried some flights including The Wizard (witbier), Single in Bruges, Morning Man (cofffee/rum amber ale), Three Fates (tripel), 1801 Koffee (black saison), Endless Enigma (Belgian pale ale), Iconoclast (hoppy tripel), and Quadraphonic (quad).

My wife noted that the naming of the beers is super creative. I noted that I really liked The Wizard, Endless Enigma and Iconoclast. On the way out we got a group picture with the Barrel of Monks royalty! And headed to the original Funky Buddha Lounge! What odds you put that Rob Lloyd shows there too?

Nice place. Great atmosphere. Oh, and the beer! Check it out.

Friday, February 24, 2017

A Visit To Holy Mackerel The Garage Project

Last weekend, my wife and I checked out the recently opened Holy Mackerel The Garage Project. When we arrived, we were surprised to find that it's a block away from Bangin' Banjo Brewery. So be sure to check both breweries out when nearby! Before I forget, you can find the brewery here: 3260 NW 23rd Ave., Pompano Beach, FL.

We arrived early afternoon to a dozen or so early drinkers including local famous beer artist Rob Lloyd. Yes, he already had an original painting on the Holy Mackerel wall! Owners Bobby Gordash and Corey Brysman were both on hand, talking to the patrons and pouring beers.

Corey showed us the brewing area in the back, separated only by a chain from the main tap room space. The space was very roomy and had a big garage door in the back with the spray painted tag line, The Garage Project, an homage to where Bobby's brewing roots began--homebrewing in his garage.

There were 20 taps with beer and one with a nitro coffee. Of course all of Holy Mackerel's beers were on tap, but a dozen or more other pretty cool beers also made the list. I like Holy Mackerel's Special Golden Ale, and of the guest choices, Angry Chair Hazelnut Porter and Civil Society Fresh IPA were terrific!

The brewery contract brews its core lineup for distribution, and this little brewery will never replace that. Rather, The Garage Project is where Bobby and Corey can experiment with new beers or new treatments to existing beers. They can create new tap room only specialties or collaborations with the growing number of local breweries.

Anyway, check them out. I can't wait to see where this goes. And best of luck to two great guys!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Heavy Seas TropiCannon Citrus IPA

Heavy Seas Loose Cannon is a great IPA! So when I saw TropiCannon Citrus IPA, a twist on that favorite brewed with blood oranges and grapefruit zest, I jumped on it. The back label lets you know this beer's sales support Best By APR3017. 7.25% alcohol.

Awesome aroma! Huge grapefruit, citrus, super fresh, bright candied orange. Super bright flavors as well with big citrus tangerine, grapefruit, orange all in! Zesty and tangy, juicy as well. Bitter but with a nice sweet balance in the background. Finishes bitter with a lingering fruitiness. Loved it!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Single Origin Coffee Brown Ale: Costa Rica Tarrazu

Terrapin Beer Co. created a series of coffee beers each brewed with a unique coffee over the same base brown ale. I haven't seen the other three in the series, but decided to check out Single Origin Coffee Brown Ale Costa Rica Tarrazu.

Big coffee aroma, fresh and very inviting. Quality coffee flavors come first, featuring some light chocolate and nutty character. Creamy, nice texture.

There is a pruney, cherry thing going on in the background as well. Hint of tobacco. On the thin side of medium with a dry finish. Not bad, interesting.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Miami Gras Honey Juniper Saison

Concrete Beach recently released cans of Miami Gras Honey Juniper Saison. 7.2% alcohol. 25 IBU.

Yeasty aroma, a little orange fruitiness, hay, spiciness. Similar flavors. Fruity to start with quite the yeasty character. A little tart. Spicy with coriander and pepper and yeah, I suppose Juniper. The honey goes nicely with the light citrus bitterness and spices. Dry at the finish with some lingering spice. Pretty good.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

High Note

Portland, Maine's Peak Organic Brewing makes some tasty beers. I just grabbed their High Note, a white ale brewed with lemongrass. 4.9% alcohol. 14 IBU.

Mega-pop of the cap with a little beer following. Big wheaty, tangy, spicy, lemony aroma. Super pleasant! Nice flavors too. Tangy to start and quite spicy. Tons of lemon, coriander as well, and plenty of citrus zest.

Carbonation is big, sharp and prickly, adding a lot to the refreshment while also enhancing the spiciness. Has a little saison quality to it even. Dry at the finish. Very nice beer!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Bel Air Sour

I saw that Garrett and Brooklyn started sending a new beer here recently. Bel Air Sour is packaged in an eye-catching Easter egg pink and blue labeled bottle. A story on the bottle neck sets your expectations, finishing with, "Sour, yet cheerful; weird, but true."Best By JUN 05 2017. 5.8% alcohol.

Aroma starts with some lemony tartness and salinity but shows off some big fruity peach as well. Neck-grab initial sip tartness, lemony and dry. Those are answered by some nice fruity and juicy flavors. And yeah, you'll get used to the tartness.

Fruity, juicy, tart, sweet, acidic, citric, saline. All with a good bite! I liked it! Super interesting and nicely refreshing. Check it out.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ripper San Diego Pale Ale

Stone recently started sending cans of its Ripper San Diego Pale Ale to South Florida. Every time I look at the can, for me, it's impossible not to read STRIPPER, just the way the letters are perfectly arranged and the color change. But I digress...

The can does sport a gargoyle but no gargoyle insult story. Instead, Stone tells about "A Rippin' Swell of Juicy Hops," inspired by the surfing culture in SoCal and Australia. So they created a "West Coast Pale with an Aussie Accent," using Cascade and Australian Galaxy Hops. 5.7% alcohol. 40 IBU. Enjoy By 03/15/17. Canned 12/15/16.

Citrus and fruity aroma, with orange, mango and tropical jumping out of the glass. Terrific! Nice tropical fruity sweet flavors to start as well. Juicy tangerines, great tanginess. Some bitterness follows, floral, citrus, lightly spicy. Balanced but leans just bitter.

Full of flavors that linger long after each sip. Definite winner!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Pineapple Beach

Pineapple Beach is Funky Buddha's newest beer to be packaged, just arriving on the west side of Broward a few days ago. The art on the label is fun, with a pineapple slice representing the sun and a whole pineapple representing a beach bird. A story titled Subtropical Sippin' sets your expectations, to be ready for "gnarly waves of juicy pineapple." 5.0% alcohol. 20 IBU. Serve 38°F

Citrus and juicy sweet pineapple aroma. Very tangy flavors to start. Juicy, orange and pineapple. A citrus burst comes next and some cracker flavors pop in and out. Very refreshing and tasty.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Early Riser Coffee Porter

Boulevard Early Riser Coffee Porter? Um, yeah! That site tells a great story about the origins of this beer. My can says 5.0% alcohol (despite the 5.2% on the story from a year ago). 28 IBU. Rooster on the label is nice.

Wow! Awesome coffee aroma with some chocolate and roast lingering, just delicious! Same with the flavors, terrific. Rich and delicious coffee, creamy texture. Plenty of great roasty goodness. Chocolate, hints of caramel and raisins. Loved it!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Toaster Pastry India Red Ale

21st Amendment Brewery recently put its Toaster Pastry India Style Red Ale on the local shelves. This beer is the first beer brewed in their new brewery and is a tribute to the building's former life as a toaster pastry factory! That's gangsta!

The can reminds me of a strawberry pastry with its colors and design. And while this can didn't hit the local market until a month or so ago, it's a GABF winner in 2015 and 2016! 74 IBU. 7.6% alcohol. The story on the back of the can makes it sound delicioso! And you can read it yourself below.

Spicy, fruity, lightly tropical fruity aroma. Wow! Great flavors start out hoppy and fruity with strawberry flavors shining. I honestly didn't believe that would happen from the story.

Great bitterness, yet balanced. Spicy, toasty, caramel flavors. Good body and more toast into the finish, even with a little nutty aftertaste. Honestly, the can description is the perfect description of the beer, not even any embellishment on the marketing department's position! Check it out!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Series: 8 Hop Pale Ale, IPA and Imperial IPA

New Belgium recently released their new Voodoo Ranger Series, a set of hoppy beers with an interesting new label and look. I suppose the skeleton in the military garb is the Voodoo Ranger himself! And the particular uniform and sometimes the hat changes for each of the three different beers.

Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Pale Ale. 5.5% alcohol. Tropical peach and mango fruity aroma. Flavors the same, great tangerine fruitiness, juicy, bursting with flavor. Initial sweetness meets some light bitter and spicy balance. Has that New Belgium herbal quality to it. I liked it!

Voodoo Ranger IPA. 7% alcohol. Aroma full of tropical pineapple and mango and a touch of citrus.Very juicy. Tropical fruity mango sweetness to start with a little herbal character. Bitterness follows with some pine and citrus and a nice spicy streak through it. Nice contrast, sweet and juicy with an excellent bitter answer and finish.

Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA. 9% alcohol. Nice citrus aroma, though it wasn't jumping out of the glass like the other two. An initial caramel sweetness is hit by a wave of bitterness: pine, citrus, orange rind. Herbal and spicy toward the finish. Pretty rich body though the alcohol tones that down a bit. Not bad.

In the end, I'd say I liked the Pale Ale and IPA about equally and much more than the Imperial IPA. I like the new series and think the artwork is pretty cool (and very different from any of New Belgium's other stuff). Let me know what you think.

8 Hop Pale Ale Description
IPA Description

Imperial IPA Description

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Victory 21st Birthday IPA

Victory Brewing is celebrating! Just old enough to drink its own beer! Victory's 21st Birthday IPA was recently released, and their website says the Yakima harvest was so impressive this year, they decided to use their favorite hops from the trip to brew this beer. 6.1% alcohol. Enjoy By 12 Jun 2017

Lemony, citrus aroma, bright, floral. Tangy flavors in the beginning full of lemon and candied citrus, very appealing. Bright, fresh, big zesty zing!

There is an excellent bitterness full of resinous pine, yet there is still a balance of malty sweetness in the background. A little nippy at the palate. Refreshing and very nice.

My wife stole the glass from me about a third through and finished it. She brought the empty glass to the kitchen, stating "we went there (Victory Brewing)," to which I said "duh" to show my displeasure in her finishing my beer. Check it out and Happy Anniversary, Victory Brewing!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Hopslam Ale 2017

OMG, Hopslam on the shelves! Let's all go crazy! That's actually the way things went down here in Miami around 5 years ago.

I didn't even bother buying any last year, despite always having a great affection for this beer. This year, I grabbed a single can--hey the $4 purchase was the right move considering almost zero mark-up from the $23 sixer price. Also, if you buy bombers, stop bitching about the price. The equivalent of a $7 - $8 bomber of a great beer? You people...

The canned on date is cut off, but I think this one was 1/18/17. Double India Pale Ale brewed with Honey. 10.0% alcohol.

Bursting citrus aroma with a little tropical fruitiness in the background. Citrus and pine bitterness come first, but a very nice touch of honey and tropical fruity sweetness add immediate balance.

Chewy full body. Smooth. Alcohol noticeable at the finish. Lingering bitterness. Overall on the sweet side. Based on my past experiences drinking this beer, I was a little disappointed. Yes it was very good. But I remembered WOWW!!! with two W's and three !!! at the end! A little sweet, wanted more tropical fruit flavors but also more balance, crispness, refreshment. Check it out.

Monday, February 6, 2017


I recently grabbed a bottle of Founders' Frootwood, a cherry ale aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels, from their Barrel Aged Series. This is a new series for the brewery and its first release overall and in 2017.

The artwork on the label is nice, with a cherry tree reaching deep into the dirt, roots penetrating a buried bourbon barrel. Now, I know I'm a critic of bourbon barrel aging of beers; however, this is 1. a barrel that also housed maple syrup and 2. is brewed by Founders! Enough said.

Bottled on 12/20/16. 8.0% alcohol. Was definitely not a cheap 12 ounce bottle, and with the price I paid I'd have expected the labels to be glued WAY better, with back and front both half off one month after bottling. The story on the back label sets your expectations--let me take that further...

Tart cherry and sweet maple aroma. Yum flavors! Lots of cherry to start, just a touch tart. Then some excellent sweetness completely coats the palate.

Vanilla noticeable, maple syrup also contributes, bourbon in the background. Awesomely smooth with some great texture. Dry finish with a little more tart cherry lingering.

Super unique, nice beer. Bourbon, tartness, cherry go nicely together. Check it out!