I’m as reliable as a weather man

9 04 2011

Ok. There are some legit reasons for the delay here. First off, we had our trip to Detroit along with about 150 other Wings fans from around the universe.  Saw a couple of Red Wings games, raised over 13,000 dollars for the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, and enjoyed some local brews that we don’t get in Madison.

Second of all, our household has been sick as hell.  I believe someone in Detroit infected us with Captian Tripps.  I guess that’s to be expected with all of the tongue kissing with strangers that went on.  M-O-O-N and that spells death orgy.

As I mentioned above, I got to try some cool beers in Detroit.  Three brewhouse and one that isn’t distributed here.

Ghettoblaster.   This is a English style mild ale.  This was described to me as a pub in a glass.  That sounds kind of retarded until you drink this beer.  Then it all makes sense.  Hell, it will make your life make sense.  This is more like an ESB.  You have a nice hop profile and a nice malt bill.  And it has a really nice balance.  Motor City Brew Works, you really need to distribute here.

Next up is Detroit Dwarf.  You can Wiki that for the creepy history, ’cause I’m not linking to it.  This was a decent beer from the Detroit Beer Co.  A pretty standard Red/Amber.  It had a creamier texture than most reds.  My friend Brad said it really sat on the front of his tongue, while that doesn’t bother me, I can see how it could be a turnoff.

Our last night there we watch the Red Wings spank the Blues with about 50 of our closest friends at The Detroit Pub.  I was really enjoying Detroit Pub Red Ale, one of their house ales.  A nice red with a good hop presence up front and smoothed out with a nice earthy malt tone.  But while we were there I saw an Arcadia tap handle and asked the bartender what it was.  She told me it was a red.  Well, when I got home I did a little research and found out that it just wasn’t a red.  It was Brigid’s Irish Red brewed specifically for St. Patrick’s Day.  So I just happens to be that I was lucky enough to be in the area while it was still on tap.  This was an awesome red.  The hops up front was very different for a red, very piny and citrusy.  A really nice hop profile that lasted from beginning to end, with the end having a nice bready malt finish to balance it out.  Like I said, I got lucky on that one.

This month’s Suds Club 6-pack Was New Holland Breweries Golden Cap.  This is a really good saison.  A nice bready, hay aroma where those flavors go right into the first sip.  The hop flavors mingle quite nicely with the fresh hay flavor.  I’m really not an expert on saisons, but if this is any indication as to what they should taste like, then I’m sold.

One last beer before I go, which kind of sucks, because I’m missing about 6 beers on this post that are kind of getting lost in the shuffle.  Anyways, I was talked into this one from the worker at the liquor store I go to.  He has never steered me wrong in the past, and mind you he said he hadn’t even tried this yet, but he loves this brewery and was stoked that their distributer was starting to pick them up.  From South Shore Brewery out of Ashland, WI, I picked up a 22 oz. bomber of their Bourbon Barrel Coffee Mint Stout.  I’ve had many beers with many variations of those words with the exception of mint, so I was very intrigued.  This tastes just like its name says.  Quite honestly, it tastes like mint chocolate chip ice cream.  Or like a mocha with Andes mint chocolates thrown in.  As it warms you get more of the woody vanilla tones and less of the mint.  This is a sipper for sure.  A very desserty kind of beer that is very rich.  Very enjoyable.  If you like big mocha stouts or chocolate porters, give this a try.

Until next time, I raise my glass to you.





Yeah, I suck

27 02 2011

A huge apology goes out to my 3 readers out there that I post so inconsistently.  The blog is the modern day journal, and a lot them out there are really only done for the writer.  I also use the term writer loosely.  Let’s be honest people, 90% of blog entries should start out, “Dear diary”.   I’m not deluding myself.  This is more about me cataloging beers that I have had and what I like and don’t like.  Really the only participation I could hope for from readers is that I get some recommendations in the comments.

Enough of me waxing moronic about the definitions of what a blog is or should be, let’s talk about some mother fucking beer.  WOOOOOOOO!

Scotch ales are still on top for me right now.  Last time I talked about Tyranena’s Sheep Shagger, which was very good.  So how do you make a good beer better?  You age it in bourbon barrels.  So you get Shaggin’ in the Wood Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale.  This is part of their Brewers Gone Wild series.  This one has a much creamier mouth feel.  You also get some really subtle vanilla and oak notes added into the flavor profile now.  If you run across any of their Brewers Gone Wild series I highly suggest that you pick it up.  These do not stick around long and once they hit the shelves, they go pretty quick.

 

Ok, now I’ve got some from Dogfish Head Brewery that we tried.  One that lived up to the hype is 90 minute IPA.  A nice big beer with a great hop flavor all throughout.  A big malty backbone balances this one nicely.  Bready, raisiny flavors come through quite nicely.

 

Midas Touch.  Yeah, yeah, it’s a neat story.  Doing all this research and being faithful to an ancient recipe, but this did not work for me at all.  It started off with a wet dog hair/moldy hay aroma.  Well guess what?  That totally killed it right there.  With that smell stuck in my nose it tasted like that.  It’s a cool idea, but may this ancient recipe should have remained in the tomb.

 

Another one that I wasn’t too impressed with was Raison D’Etre.  It just wasn’t memorable.   That’s one problem with not writing about these beers right away, if they weren’t that great, I totally don’t commit any of it to memory.  The other reason could be is that we had this right after an Indian Brown Ale. Which is really, really good.  This is one of those beers that after a few sips you say, “This is fucking good”.  This combo is part Scotch ale, part IPA, part American brown.  And they all work perfectly together.

 

Because of my Finnish heritage we had to try Sah’tea.  They actually brew this white hot rocks.  That’s old school.  This brew tastes kind of  like a white belgian or Christmas ale.  They use some cool spices like cardamom, black pepper, ginger, cloves, and other spices.  They also use juniper berries from Finland.  This is really nice and different sort of brew.

 

I’ve been seeing stuff on the interwebs lately that kind of bug me about Dogfish Head.  These are breweries not punk rock bands.  Just because Dogfish Head is at the forefront of the craft brew industry in terms of visibility and being a champion of the small brewers of the nation people act like they are sellouts.  I realize with Sam being one of the focal points of the documentary Beer Wars and Dogfish Head being on tv for the Brewmasters show, that it seems like one brewer or brewery is always in your face.  That doesn’t mean you can shit on the beer.

 

There are a million beer sites out there.  And when you read through the ratings you can see which people are assholes and which people really enjoy beer and sharing their beer experiences.  Guess what?  Everybody has tastebuds.  And everybody has opinions.  I basically never rate beers on these sites because it seems everybody is so inconsistent within the categories.  “Oh, you smelled raisins. I didn’t get that all, but I totally smelled black currants.  I guess I have a better sense of smell than you.”  Hey, can you smell this blood since I smashed your nose to the back of your head?  Do not confuse enthusiast with expert.  Everyone’s palate is different.  Not better, different.  Get off of your high horses, climb down from your soapboxes and let’s go to the pub and enjoy a few rounds.

 

This wasn’t supposed to turn into a rant.  I’m just not going to put up with pretentious bullshit.  A couple more beers before I go.

 

I’ve got two from Left Hand Brewery that I really enjoyed.  First up I found a 2009 Oak Aged Imperial Stout.  This is a really good beer.  Strong coffee and chocolate notes.  Nice hop profile.  Woody vanilla flavors come out nicely from the oak brandy barrels.  The flaked oats used give a nice creaminess to the mouth feel.  I’ve noticed that Left Hand has changed their packaging, they have a nice new website http://www.lefthandbrewing.com and this beer hasn’t gone away but is now Wake Up Dead.  And then we have Chainsaw Ale. This is a double ESB and is a very tasty beer.  This beer has great balance.  The malt and hops work in perfect concert in this one.

 

Ok, last one.  This beer gets more hype every year.  This was the first year that I had this beer, and I have to admit I was ready to be let down because people were basically calling this stuff nectar of the gods.  Bell’s Hopslam.  Alright, this better be worth it at and average of 16 bucks a six pack.  I was blown away.  It will spank you at 10+ abv.  An explosion of hop flavor leads an all out assault on your tastebuds.  Balanced out with malt and a good dose of honey this drinks real easy.  Too easy.  Slow your roll and be careful with this one.

 

Alright I’m out of here.  Until next time I raise my glass to you.

 





If It’s Not Scottish It’s Crap

4 12 2010

Sorry folks for the extremely large absence.  I have been getting caught up with other projects.  So enough about me being lazy, let’s look at some beers.

I have been really diggin’ on the Scottish style ales lately.  A big robust, peaty, malty beer is just what this time of year calls for.  We have also enjoyed some very good coffee stouts and a very interesting coffee lager.  This time of year is also a good time to check out various breweries websites and take a good look at their release calendar.   There is nothing worse than missing out on one of your favorite brews because it only had a 3 month window.

Robert the Bruce Scottish Style Ale from Three Floyds Brewery.  This beer is big and malty.  It’s got a nice toasted caramel flavor to it.  I highly recommend this beer.

Warped Speed Scotch Style Ale from Lake Louie Brewing.  You will like this one if you enjoy your Scotch ales a little less sweet.  A nice full bodied beer with a nice little pop of hops on the back end.  This is nice and smooth.

Sheep Shagger Scotch Ale from Tyranena Brewing.  A big robust beer with a complex malt profile.  It’s pretty heavy duty with nice notes of toffee and caramel.  I love this beer.

Three Feet Deep from Furthermore Brewery.  This is actually a dry Irish Stout.  They added peat smoked malt to this brew that adds a very nice smoky flavor to it.  You can always trust Furthermore to get some nice unique flavor profiles out there.

Now I have a couple of coffee beers to mention here.  I really enjoy a well done coffee beer.  Some from the past that I have enjoyed that I highly recommend are Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Block Brewery and Mokah from Southern Tier’s Blackwater Series.  Mokah is a straight up dessert beer.  It’s a big boy stout at 10.9% abv and brewed with coffee and chocolate.

Coffee Stout from New Glarus Brewery.  You can’t go wrong with New Glarus.  This one is strong on the coffee flavors as they use cold pressed coffee in the brewing process.  This is a perfect winter stout.

Oscura from Furthermore Brewery.  This is another unique offering from Furthermore.  This is a coffee lager and it tastes like an iced coffee.  I’m talking about huge coffee flavors here.  When they say they are going to add some kind of different ingredient these guys go big with Nicaraguan beans.  Since it starts out as a mexican lager the addition of flaked maize is a nice touch for the creaminess.

And a post at Beer Me wouldn’t be complete without me mentioning a brew from Ale Asylum.  We recently had Mercy, their Belgian Grand Cru.  If you are a fan of the Belgian style but would like it with a little more muscle then give this a try.  Dark and fruity/caramel aromas with a nice sweet finish, but not too sweet.  This is another nice winter beer.

I totally blew it this year and didn’t talk about some really awesome Octoberfests that I had this year, so we will just have to wait until next year.  I will try to keep up with the winter seasonals.

Until next time I raise my glass to you.





Pump it up

6 09 2010

O.K.  Now that the IPA experiment is done, which was a huge success in this household, it’s time to move on.  As summer turns to fall I start thinking of darker beers.  So come on craft world, bring on your badass imperials.  I want dark beers with hints of chocolate and coffee.

It’s also a great time to take advantage of the Oktoberfests that are put out by all of the breweries.  I may have mentioned this beer before, but since it is the season, I will tell you all about it again.  New Glarus Brewery’s Staghorn.  It is an excellent Oktoberfest.  A nice robust beer that drinks nice and smooth.  A nice balance of hops and malts.

So another thing that we are trying this fall season is trying out some pumpkin ales.  This is a tricky category for me.  I don’t want a wheat beer with pumpkin spice in it, I want it to be brewed with actual pumpkins.  We have two that we have tried so far.  First up is Southern Tier’s Imperial Pumpking Ale.  This limited edition only comes in a 22 oz. bomber which is the perfect size for trying out a beer that you are not sure of.  This beer is a beast at 9.0 abv but you would never know it.  This basically smelled and tasted like a pumpkin pie.  It was very tasty and is what I am going to use to compare other pumpkin ales to.  Big pumpkin flavor on the front end and finished with a nice spice on the back end.  Clove, nutmeg, and other pumpkin pie spices come through nicely in the finish.  I do recommend giving this a try.

The next on is from Blue Moon and is called Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale.  Well, it’s a beer.  Quite honestly this just tasted like a wheat beer with a slight spice note on the back end, and I mean very slight.  I don’t taste any pumpkin at all, and the label says that it is brewed with ripened pumpkin.  Maybe they brewed it while carving a pumpkin.

Here is a couple of more beers that we had since I last wrote as well.

Dankenstein Double IPA from Pearl Street Brewery.  This would of been a great beer if not for the metallic aftertaste you got during the first half of the bottle.  This four pack might have been sitting around at the liquor store for awhile though which might account for the weird taste.  I would very much like to try this beer with a fresher date.  It’s huge at a 9+ abv.  The last quarter of the bottle you could taste more of the alcohol.  I think I should have rested this bottle on its side in the fridge to maybe eliminate some of these issues.  I think I would try this again just to be sure I didn’t just have old bottles.  But I also don’t like the idea of craft beer getting funky just because of its age.  That kind of speaks of the production.

I also had Lagunitas A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale.  This is nice and wheaty on the front end and has a nice hoppy pop on the back end.  I like the hop signature on all of Lagunitas’ beers.  I find this perfect for a wheat beer since I tend to find wheat beers heavy.  The hops on the back end brightens it up nicely.

Until next time I raise my glass to you.





That’s Just Being A Stupidhead

1 08 2010

I have been hearing a lot of hype lately about breweries going all mental trying to make beer with the highest alcohol content.  You know what?  Knock it off.  You know why?  Because 99.9% of beer drinkers will never drink your beer.  For me, you just created anti-advertising for your brewery.  Instead of creating good beers for all to enjoy, you are wasting time, energy, and resources all on a pissing contest.  The pain in the ass process of freezing out the water to leave the alcohol behind alone seems like such a waste.

I have seen reviews that people say that this is a “sipping beer” and it should be enjoyed like a scotch.  You know what I want to enjoy like a scotch?  Um…that would be scotch.  40% alcohol is an average for liquor.  If you really want that high alcohol content in your beer, just do an Irish Car Bomb.  I’ve had a couple of higher abv beers and they didn’t blow my socks off.  And the ones I’ve had didn’t even surpass 20%.  They tasted like wine, beer, and some kind of alcohol mixed together.  There comes a point when you really start to taste the alcohol, which is a killer to a beer drinker.  You need balance of ingredients and flavors.  We shouldn’t taste the alcohol.   So quit squeezing a bar rag into a bottle and calling yourself special.  Because we are calling you special, just not the good kind of special.

Tell you what? I will invent a drink for you right now in your honor.

1 can of mass market beer poured into a pint glass

1 shot of rum

1 shot of vodka

1 shot of pure grain alcohol

a splash of Boon’s Farm (flavor of your choice)

a splash of Mad Dog 20/20 (flavor of your choice)

garnish with slice of lemon, slice of orange, wedge of pineapple, 3 maraschino cherries on one of those little plastic swords, oh and a little umbrella.

So just sit back and enjoy your Douchebag Punch.

Enough of that nonsense.  Here’s some beer.

Left Hand Brewery 400 Pound Monkey.  This is their English-Style India Pale Ale.  This is a very earthy tasting IPA.  Kind of a porter on the front end bitter on the back end.  That front end has a bready, burnt caramel taste and is nicely balanced with a smoothed out bitter back end.  I find these traditional English IPAs have a more smoky quality rather than a citrusy one.

Stone Brewery Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale.  This is an American strong ale and is more of a big boy beer.  About an 8.7% abv and at 90 ibus it’s a nice strong beer.  This term American strong ale just seems to me as another way of saying  jacked up APA.  It is very smoky on the front end and the bitter on the back end is just a touch under the harsh limit.  I liked this beer, but I thought that their Empirial IPA was better balanced.

Until next time I raise my glass to you.





More IPA’s and Keg Devil

4 07 2010

So now we are in the thick of Summer and the IPAs are going down nice and smooth.  We’ve got a couple more under our belts and are loving it.

Ale Asylum’s Satisfaction Jackson Double IPA.  A bit sweeter than other IPAs, but the hops and malts have a nice balance.  These guys just never seem to fail me.  This one is a little more heavy-duty so slow your roll.

Stone Brewery’s 14th Anniversary Empirial IPA.  This one is an ass-kicker.  It has a great nose with a floral, citrusy,  and strong apricot smell.  At a range from 90 to 100 IBUs, you don’t want to mess around if you’re not into the hoppy beers.  I was a big fan of this one.

Tyranena’s La Femme Amère Wisconsin/Belgique-Style India Pale Ale.  This one is from their Brewers Gone Wild series.  Very tasty.  You have some very nice spice notes that come through.

Three Floyds’ Alpha King Pale Ale.  This is another nice and citrusy IPA with just the right amount of bitter coming through on the back end.

Ale Asylum’s Hoppalicious.  No I don’t work for these guys.  I wish I did.  I use to not like this beer.  I thought it was too bitter and kind of metallic tasting.  But since we started doing this IPA thing I thought this one deserved another shot.  I’ve gotta say, I really like this one.  Nice and hoppy with a good floral/citrus nose.

Okay.  Here’s the thing about kegs.  They are the devil, and here’s why.  When you are drinking bottles or cans you have a visual reference of how much you drank.  You can see your empties and say, “Slow down you fuckin’ lush.”  But when you are drinking from a keg, all you have is the same cup.  And for some reason that cup always seems empty, which was the case a couple of weeks ago when my wife and I attended a duel birthday party.  The beer flowed and the revelers reveled.  And none of us were aware of our level of inebriation.  And then the group of rocket scientists that we are decided that it would be good to hit the bar after.  Yeah, that was a bad decision.  Now we are adding more beer and shots on top of all of that keg beer.  Ugh.  Let us just say that I had a chill upon my liver the next day.  But in the end what counts is that we all apparently had a good time according to my wife who was the designated driver.  So screw you keg beer, you’ve bested me once again.  Once I come up with a tracking system your days are numbered.  Unless someone stands on a chair and declares that we must kill this keg in a very Braveheart-like speech.  Then all bets are off.





Walk To Run

25 06 2010

So the IPA experiment continues.  Now we are marveling at ourselves for ignoring this style for so long.  There are some really excellent, complex IPAs that will  challenge your taste buds.  For some people it is an acquired taste.  I know it was for me.  And for most people I think it is that way.  I mean how many of us start off drinking IPAs and Imperial Stouts?  When you first start drinking, it’s really only with one purpose in mind, to get drunk.  If you said you were a beer aficionado at 16 then I am going to call you a liar.  Your goal was to get as much beer as possible for the least amount of money.  For the price of a fancy-lad six-pack you could get a case of Old Milwaukee.  Or you could get what was affectionately called ‘ The Treasure Chest’, or ‘The Suitcase’.  That was the 30 pack of  Hamm’s or Pabst Blue Ribbon.  You could get them for about $10.50.  Yay, now everyone can get drunk.

Now I still enjoy a Hamm’s or PBR or Miller Lite every once in awhile.  Maybe a 12 pack of Old Style for old times sake.  But once you get a little bit older and progress beyond the need for just getting hammered, and you enjoy beer, you start exploring your options.  The best place to start is asking bartenders and liquor store employees.  You just tell them what you usually drink, beers you have tried and enjoyed, styles that you have liked, and they can usually point you in the right direction.  Start out slow.  You don’t have to find the beer with the highest abv or ibu’s.  If fact if you do, it might turn you off from certain styles right off the bat.  Another way to go about it is to find a brewery that you enjoy.  There is usually an underlying connectivity amongst their styles.  I know when I’m drinking a New Glarus or Ale Asylum beer even if it’s a porter, stout, or IPA.  So if you enjoy a couple of different beers from a certain brewery, there’s a good chance you will enjoy their other styles.

So that brings us back to my wife and I trying out IPAs and a couple more we have tried and liked.

New Glarus Moon Man No Coast Pale Ale.  New Glarus hits another one out of the park.  Very aromatic and great hop flavor, very cool combination of citrus, floral, and pine flavors come through without a lot of bitterness.  We always grab a six-pack of this if we can’t make up our minds.

Upland’s Dragonfly IPA.  This one is a little weird for me.  It has the hoppines and bitterness of an IPA, but it has a huge malt backbone to it.  There is a big earthy caramel front end with a bitter back end.  It is enjoyable and my wife liked it a lot.  It is kind of like a porter in the front and an IPA in the back.

Central Waters Illumination Double IPA.  This one is damn good.  This is a huge beer at +9 abv, so be careful.  Great aroma with a nice complex hop combination.  Scary smooth for such a high abv.  A nice rye flavor comes through on the back end.

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA.  That big crisp bitterness you come to expect from Sierra Nevada.  This one has a huge citrus punch to it with a nice pine on the back end.  The citrus and pine are also big in the aroma.  Citra hops is used in the dry hopping process which accounts for that nice citrus flavored punch.

So as we enjoy our IPAs for the summer, what are you guys all drinking as your summer beer?  Let me know.