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A beer a day for a year's Journal
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in A beer a day for a year's LiveJournal:

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Friday, March 21st, 2008
11:02 am
Philly Beer Week
And I missed Philly Beer week in its entirety, although I had a fun time reading about it at my local suburban beer bars. I really wanted to attend the "Meet the brewer from Allagash (and tasting)" downtown, but I found out about it too late. Also, my plans for attending the Sunday Belgian Brunch at the Springhouse Drafting Room were also unfortunately interrupted. Next year perhaps.

On with the beers.

67) Allagash - Fluxus - Brewed with Yarrow, Pilsner Malt and Rye Malt, this one is all over the place. Delicious, fruity with spice pairings I couldn't place, and surprisingly light for a bottle conditioned double Belgian style ale. Excellent brew. More about this beer here.

68) Ithica - Double IPA - Rich and Malty with a decent hop character.

69) Cantillon - Rose de Gambrinus - My fifth from Cantillon. A Cask Conditioned Framboise Lambic. Sour with a musky nose, clean and perfect. An excellent beer. I have had comparable local brews, however, this is one of the originals. Highly recommended as are all brews from Cantillon.

70) Smutty Nose - Finest Kind IPA - I can't believe this is my first time trying this IPA. It is perfect. Clean, hoppy with a dry finish. Another big win for New England.

71) Brasserie d'Achouffe - La Chouffe - One of my all time favorite pale Belgian style ales. Simply a treat every single time I drink it.

72) Pilsner Urquel - Photo here - I had to try this just to see what, if anything, I was missing out on. A very non-carbonated, simple yet clean pilsner. Stated as the original pilsner from the many books I own, it's not bad at all.

Just to be sure, my next beer was to be one of my all time favorite pilsners. And from the bottle just to make the comparison fair.

73) Victory - Prima Pils - Yep, sorry. Freshness counts when it comes to pilsners. Although the base quality is very similar, Victory just makes a better version of this classic style. Simple, clean, hoppy and refreshing (with bubbles).

74) Stone - Double Bastard - Big American Strong Ale from the Tap. Wow, this stuff is huge and much better than the Arrogant Bastard. Not exactly my style of brew, but if you want a big winter ale, go for this one. I would rather be drinking this one with a meal.

75) Digfish Head - 90 Minute IPA - I forgot to photograph this one. It was from the bottle. There are three brews in this series from Dogfish Head. I have had all of them before and this is my favorite, mostly for being the most balanced and drinkable with a wee-heavy body and excellent hop character. The 60 is a simpler version and the 120 is, well, one of the largest IPAs in the universe at 21% ABV (yea, you read that right).

76) Hoppin' Frog - Hoppin' To Heaven IPA - Nice hoppy IPA with a decent sweet body from Akron, Ohio of all places.

77) Ommegang - Abbey Ale - A decent Belgian style dark double ale. Nothing like their Three Philosophers though, which is a home run.

78) Riverhorse - Special Ale (ESB) - My Uncle had a couple of these in his fridge. I was surprised as this is the one from Riverhorse I have yet to try. It's really good. Brit-style Extra Special Bitter with a nice solid yet drinkable body and a good amount of hops.

79) Sly Fox - Cascade IPA - Perfect, Cascade-heavy IPA from the Sly Fox IPA project. Yum, so good.

Current Mood: accomplished
Sunday, March 2nd, 2008
9:53 am
300 more to go
64) Dogfish Head - Black and Blue - Ale made with raspberry and blueberry puree. Very wine-like, no real head. Pours a gorgeous deep red. Subtle hints of blueberry, although, no real raspberry is detectable. Not very tart either, which is what I was hoping for. A surprisingly simple brew.

65) Green Flash - Imperial IPA - Excellent IIPA made with summit and nugget hops. A perfect amount of body that isn't overly sweet. Dry and clean finish with a nice lingering of hop flavor. Green Flash is great stuff.

66) Lost Coast - Double Trouble IPA - From the tap. Nice and hoppy with a medium amount of body that is subtle and sweet.
Saturday, March 1st, 2008
4:40 pm
And back up again
53) Sly Fox - Pacific Jade IPA - Another from the IPA project. Delicious. Subtle cascade. Well balanced.

54) Allagash - Hugh Mallone Ale - Allagash's featured Simcoe Ale. Not at all over the top with the hops. And in the typical Allagash style, a big, strong body. A wonderful surprise for this lover of Simcoe hops. An excellent write up of this brew can be found here.

55) Cantillon - Broucsella (1900) Grand Cru - If this is the worst brew from Cantillon, it's still not bad. It is, however, interesting. It is a still Lambic, which means there was no conditioning performed to create carbon dioxide (bubbles) after the initial fermentation. Therefore, the beer is much weaker, watery, and well, plain, than you would expect. It is however still very delicious and provides a new perspective for this traditional style. How they came up with the Grand Cru name is beyond me. It is nowhere close to that style. Not even in the ballpark, or the galaxy for that matter. Drunks!

56) Southampton Publick House - XXII Reserve IPA - Quickly diminishing head with good balance. A decent IPA.

57) Allagash - Interlude - This is one of my favorite beers of all time. Possibly my most favorite from Allagash brewing in Portland, Maine. Oak aged ale that is crisp and light on the palette. Incredibly strong at 9.5% ABV, and you can barely even tell it is. Nice notes of cherry and fruit invade your senses. Again, an excellent write up of this brew can be found here.

58) Rogue - Dead Guy Ale - From the tap. One of my all time favorite session style craft brews. We would purchase the limited edition "Glow in the Dark" labeled 24oz bottles of this for our Halloween parties. And everyone loves this beer. A heavily hopped Maibock style that is like no other.

59) Yuengling - Lager - In Pennsylvania, if you order a "lager" without stating which one, this is what you'll most likely end up with. It is a staple of the better macro brews from our State. A simple lager for lager lovers.

60) Troegs - Nugget Nectar - Troegs' hopped up double IPA. This beer uses Nugget, Warrior, Tomahawk, Simcoe and Palisade hops to make this the hoppiest concoction from this fantastic Harrisburg, PA craft brewery. Sorry for the lack of photo. Instead, here are fresh Nugget hops that I grow in my garden. Yum.

61) Duvel - Belgian Golden Ale - Another of my favorites. A strong, unbelievably crisp and refreshing Golden Ale with just the right amount of spice and body. The head retention alone is prize worthy. You can simply walk away from the brew and come back 10 minutes later and there will still be a magnificent head in your glass. Love this beer.

62) Urthel - Hop-It - A clever Belgian style spiced IPA. Darker and sweeter than most IPAs. Enjoyable, although I find it to be too sweet.

63) Bells - Hop Slam - Another clever invention using honey in the base lending a lighter, gently sweeter body. Nice and hoppy, but not a knockout. I think I enjoyed their Two Hearted Ale more than this one.
Sunday, February 24th, 2008
11:44 am
From the top of the barrel to the bottom
In this stretch, I've attended a party or two which provided both very rare samplings and some very simple session beers. Some of these session beers I wouldn't have touched otherwise. However, in the spirit of the 365 varietal beers, I was up for the challenge to my palette. But let's start off with the better and work our way to the bottom of the barrel:

40) Rogue - Ten Thousand Brew - Limited Edition Ceramic Bottle celebrating John Maier's ten thousandth batch. This was a knockout, heavyweight ale. Heavily hopped for balance, incredible ABV poured medium brown with an everlasting, creamy head. Stronger than most of the ales I've ever had from the other big ale contenders like Dogfish Head and Allagash.

This was the opening beer I brought to a three friend get together as you can see from the stuff laying around in my friend's garage-based lab. We shared it, and thankfully so. I don't think anyone of us could have enjoyed that single bottle ourselves. BA's Alström Bros did an excellent review on this brew.

41) Souther Tier - Imperial Hoppe - A well hopped strong ale from Southern Tier, a brewery that is quickly becoming one of my new favorites. Although, not over-the-top like their Gemini or the UnEarthly IPA, this beer is still assertive and bold in character. Very drinkable with a nice touch of amarillo hops.

42) Souther Tier - UnEarthly IPA - The name says it all. Over-the-top hop character with a very well balanced body to carry it. I found the hops challenging to decipher in this brew as they are so skillfully mated one would think you were drinking new varietals throughout. This is one excellent craft brew.

43) Sly Fox - Horizon IPA - From the tap at their Royersford location, this beer is part of their annual IPA project. A generous amount of cascade hops gives this a nice evergreen bite.

44) Sly Fox - Route 113 IPA - Again, from the tap, this is their flagship IPA, and one of my favorites. Nice amounts of citrus and a medium body for a smooth, easily enjoyable yet powerful drink.

45) Sly Fox - Raspberry Wheat - Once again, from the tap. Accolades for this brew. I have yet to sample a beer like it anywhere else. The raspberry notes give it just the amount of essence one could ever want while not taking away from the delicious wheat character that ends up at the back of your tongue. A simple, yet complex brew that is highly enjoyable no matter what your preferred style of beer is.

46) Sly Fox - Black and Tan - One of the best black and tans you can get! This is a combination of the O'Reilly's Stout and the Phoenix Pale Ale, which mate perfectly yielding a gorgeous single pint of two beers. The pale ale is much less hoppy than their 113 IPA making the transition from the rich stout a simple one.

47) Victory - Hop Devil - As I have enjoyed this beer in so many fashions before, this time around it was in a bottle. This is one of the greatest craft brews to ever hit the mainstream market. It deserves as much success as it achieves. It is well balanced and incredibly well hopped with a mixture of hops that is simply incomparable to other ales from Pennsylvania.

48) Weyerbacher - Double Simcoe IPA - Actually, I'm just kidding, this is an older photo with my kitten that is named Simcoe. I just wanted to throw it in here before we move into the not-so-good beer territory to get some smiles:)

Brace yourselves for impact.

48) Labatt - Blue Pilsner - A typical macro lager. Drank it straight from the can. Not the worst I've ever tasted, but I was definitely not enjoying the corn flavors. Taking one for the team! OUCH!

48) Miller - Genuine Draft - I remember a long time ago trying this beer and thinking it wasn't bad. Wow have my tastes changed since that time. It's just another macro brew that gives no apparent flavor or enjoyment. Yes, I'm a beer snob.

49) Blue Moon - A case of this showed up at a party that was held here at the house. I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised at this macro brewed Belgian style wit. It is difficult to mass produce any beer with quality in mind. The fact that brewers like Coors are taking the next steps to make this happen with a better than average recipe is admirable. Although, it's still just that, a macro session beer. Easily drinkable. Just nothing more.

50) Sierra Nevada - Pale Ale - One of my first pale ales so long ago. This is always my go-to beer when the bar would serve nothing else. An excellent amount of citrus with a sharp clean finish.

51) Guinness - Stout - In a bottle. The little CO2 widget doesn't always seem to do the job from the bottle. I poured two or three from the case until I was able to get one that had the proper amount of carbonation. I suppose they should be commended for trying to achieve the classic Guinness pour from the comfort of your kitchen. However, I just don't see the point. Every bar in the universe has Guinness on tap.

52) Samuel Adams - Cherry Wheat - Extremely sweet for a fruit wheat beer. Way too sweet for my tastes. If it was aged for a while then perhaps, but wow. No.
Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
11:39 pm
Went by the local liquor store and picked up a dozen different singles and drank them over 2 days, so as to experience the taste.

Images under cutCollapse )
Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
7:54 pm
Monday, February 11th, 2008
9:04 pm
#15 Goose Island Honker's Ale (US Domestic) Copperish color with very little head. Wife commented that it had a fruity aroma, which I agreed. Nice bitterness to it with some earthly / grainy taste to it with little aftertaste. Very nice surprise at the corner convenience store.

Three stars
Sunday, February 10th, 2008
4:34 pm
#14 Rising Moon Spring Ale (US Import) One of the Blue Moon wheat ale seasonal brews. I missed the inter one but having a beer hiatus the past couple weeks I wanted something that would go down nice. Pours a nice bright golden color. Larger than average off white head. Per the label this is an Amber Wheat Ale with Kieffer Lime and Lime Peel. You definitely notice the lime in the aroma. Amazingly smooth to drink, its like they took a regular Blue Moon and made it smoother. Little to no aftertaste.

Four stars

Blue Moon is making me a fan of wheat ales, anyone have a recommendation for another brand to try?

I'm revising my rating on that "Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale" I made back on 1/26. The more times I had this beer, the more the bourbon taste became overpowering. Now if you're a whiskey or bourbon fan, you may like this. I am not a whiskey or bourbon fan, kind of ironic since I live within an afternoon drive of almost every bourbon distillery in the world. I'm a good 20 minute drive through town to Bourbon County, Kentucky. Anyways, I give it a 1 now. What was I thinking back then?
Saturday, February 9th, 2008
11:58 am
Brew Years Resolution
17) Lagunitas - Hop Stupid on tap - Very drinkable version of the Maximus. Less body, all the hops.

18) Cantillon - Fou Foune - The most delicious sour lambic I have yet to put to my mouth. Brewed with apricots. Musky nose with a long sour finish reaching far back into the throat. Tons of crisp citrus flavors. All of this with a refreshing, wine like body. Well worth the $40 I paid for it. This beer was rated #24 in Beer Advocate Magazine's Top 25 Belgian Brews.

19) Southern Tier - Tripple Chocolate Stout - I only sampled this. It was like drinking chocolate syrup with a heavy body. A beer to pair with a dessert, for sure. Definitely not my style of beer.

20) Port Brewing - Hop 15 - 15 hops varieties boiled at 15 minutes each for this 15th anniversary IPA. A bit sweet for my taste, but well worth it due to the spectacular combination of hop flavors.

21) Cantillon - Iris - Another incredible sour lambic from Cantillon. Lots of citrus on the palette, very sour and finishing long and dry.

22) Bell's Brewery - Two Hearted Ale - A knockout IPA from Bell's Brewing. Medium body with a full hop palette.

23) Cantillon - Kriek Lambic - Does this brewery make anything less than brilliant beers? Hands down, this is one of the best sour kriek lambics I've ever tasted. Ripe with cherry on the nose and pours a glowing sapphire red.

That's THREE from Cantillon that have blown me away.

24) Olfabrikken - 100 gram IPA - Poured deep golden. Sweet body leaving hints of liquorish. Not very hoppy. A very big beer.

25) Dogfish Head Brewing - Red and White - Pours a deep red. Oak on the nose with hints of pinot noir. No head. Nice strong finish. A one of a kind oak aged wit beer.

26) Moylans - Moylander Double IPA - Excellent Strong IPA. Lots of hop character balanced on a medium amount of body. Clean and strong.

27) Triumph Brewery - Honey Wheat on tap - Sorry for the lack of photos of the following brew pub's specialty brews. Triumph's Honey Wheat was wonderful. Light in body, crisp finishing, very refreshing.

28) Rock Bottom Brew Pub - Cask Conditioned Prussia's Pride IPA on tap - Much smoother than their regular Prussia's Pride IPA. Very delicious.

29) Iron Hill Brewery - Kryptonyte IPA on tap - Hopppy and smooth finishing IPA.

30) Iron Hill Brewery - Iron Bound Ale on tap - Nice light, standard IPA.

31) Port Brewing - Wipeout IPA - Excellent combination of hops in this brew. Amarillo, Centenial, Cascade, Simcoe and Summit! Bold body, pours dark amber. Excellent bitter-sweet balance.

32) Slyfox Brewery - Odyssey on tap - A personal favorite from one of my favorite local brewpubs. Carmel-malt body with an excellent hop character.

33) Bear Republic - Racer 5 IPA - Nice and hoppy standard IPA.

34) Victory Brewing Company - Harvest Pils on tap - Sorry for the lack of photo. I'm a huge fan of Victory's brews. Especially their refined Pilsners. This one falls short of being as great as their Prima Pils, but has a barely robustness not found in any other pilsner I've had to date.

35) Voodoo Brewery - 4 Seasons IPA - Citrus notes and a perfect body. Very subtle malt hint towards the end. Well defined flavors. Detected a scotch flavor 3/4 the way into the glass. Excellent IPA.

36) Brouwerij Bavik - Petrus - Oak aged Pale Ale - Yum. Sour and clean. Pours a golden blonde. Hints of oak in the throat and nose. This is one fantastic ale.

37) Green Flash Brewing Co - West Coast IPA - Nice hoppy IPA. Don't know why I didn't take more notes or photos of this one. I'll have to revisit this another time.

38) Victory Brewing Company - Prima Pils on tap at the brewery - Still the best pilsner around here in my opinion. Penn Brewing's Penn Pilsner comes very close to being as good as this.

39) Rogue - Brewer - Brewmaster John's dog's who passed away in 2006. His name was 'Brewer'. This beer, made in 8-10 batches, is only available in about 60 places within the US. I just happened upon a pint. A porter style beer, heavily spiced. Pours dark. Very delicious.

Current Mood: chipper
Saturday, February 2nd, 2008
10:49 pm
#13 High Country Canadian Draft (brewed by me!) I did this one all by my lonesome, yeh the wort was premade but it was my first time. Nice golden color. Stronger than expected run of the mill aroma. Tasted stronger then a typical mega lager.

I'm just proud of making it myself and enjoying the fruits of my labors.

4 stars yeh I said 4 stars baby!
Saturday, January 26th, 2008
11:47 pm
Home Grown
#12 Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale (US Domestic) This one is expensive. $10 for a 4 pack. Pours a deep golden with a very small head. Aroma is very powerfully oak and bourbon. Very VERY VERY Sweet and bourbon taste. There's like no hopes at least none I can taste. Finish has a definite bourbon aftertaste. Starting on the second one it tasted like I was drinking a weak bourbon with some carbonation. Alcohol content isn't as high as some other beers I've had but for some reason it feels like it does. Great in 1s and 2s unless your a big bourbon whiskey drinker. I'll have to try it on tap around here sometime, or perhaps tour the brewery.

Four stars
12:44 am
#9 Breckenridge Vanilla Porter (US Domestic) Picked this up the night after the Black Chocolate Stout. After the strong bittersweet the night before, this one was a bit weak. I didn't notice the vanilla right away, but I gave it a little while and it finally showed up, just not as pronounced as the chocolate in the stout. Pours dark and has a roasted malt and vanilla aroma. Less bitter than the stout. Overall it's like they added hops to a cream soda.

Two and a half stars

#10 Leinenkugel's Creamy Dark Lager (US Domestic) Got this the same time as the vanilla porter. Pours dark as well, but not as much as the porter and no where near the stout the night before. Had a roasted / chocolate aroma, I'm beginning to wonder if this is the case on all darker beer. Definitely had a lager taste. Also had the roasted / chocolate / coffee flavor of a dark but died down as the glass got emptier.

Two stars

#11 Pilsner Urquell (Import) Me and the wife wanted to try an experiment. The apparent king of import pilsners and a strong "man's" cheese. First the beer: Pours a nice bright golden color. Aroma is of grains and grass. Nice white head that fell rather quickly. Taste starts sweet then takes on a grainy malty flavor as the bitter hops begin to take over. Aftertaste is sweet as the bitterness fades. Very nice Pilsner

Three stars

Strong "man's" cheese? Limburger. Oh my God that is some stinky stuff. Initially smells like a old dirty diaper. After a little wile in the presence of it, it was more moldy and salty, especially if you smelled it before tasting it. The aroma hits you in the face as you pull some to taste. The taste isn't as powerful as the aroma, but you can definitely get a briny salty taste. One of the few foods with a strong aftertaste. Almost tastes like milk gone bad. It doesn't taste good. It's intriguing to say the least. Think I'll save it and share it with friends. See who is man enough to try it. It's is certainly not meant to go with the King of Pilsners.
Saturday, January 19th, 2008
3:22 am
What's Tappening? :D
9) Dupont - Avec les Bons Voeux Saison (from the tap) - 9.5% ABV:

Sorry for the lack of a personal photo. I was served this ale from the tap. This is one delicious alternative Saison (farmhouse ale) from De La Brasserie Dupont. Highly recommended, as with all farmhouse ales from Dupont.

Appearance - Light golden, quickly diminishing frothy head.
Nose - Spicy, yet not overly so.
Palette - Hints of citrus and coriander.
Finish - Moderate to long.
Drinkability - Very balanced. Incredibly refreshing and easy to drink.

10) Brouwerij Verhaeghe - Duchesse De Bourgogne: - Flanders Red Ale - a blend of 8 and 18 month aged ales - 6.2% ABV

This is my first from Brouwerij Verhaeghe and I have to say they have captured my attention. Although, not a particularly enjoyable style due to the overly sweet character, this is one interesting blend.

Appearance - Dark red and brown, nearly zero head.
Nose - Oak and spice.
Palette - Overly sweet, wine-like character.
Finish - Very sweet.
Drinkability - I had difficulty enjoying this ale due to the overly sweet character.

11) Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. for Monk's Cafe - Flemish Sour Ale - 5.5% ABV:

Brewed by Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. for Monk's Cafe here in Philadelphia, this Flemish Sour Red Ale is a simpler, less complicated sour that I have experienced so far. Not all that interesting in my opinion, but delicious never the less.

Appearance - Dark red and brown, nearly zero head.
Nose - Not very spicy.
Palette - Moderately, perhaps even a bit less sour than I was anticipating.
Finish - Malty and simple.
Drinkability - Easily drinkable and a decent start to Flemish Sours if you do not want to immediately jump into the deep end.

12) Lagunitas - Maximus IPA - 7.5% ABV:

Just thinking about this power house of an IPA from Lagunitas Brewing Company excites me to no end. Easily one of my new favorites. It's big and hoppy and handles itself entirely too well, like a poised Gentleman. If you love big, balanced IPAs, this is a must have.

Appearance - Golden, pours with a strong, hoppy head.
Nose - Extremely hoppy.
Palette - Strongly bitter sweet and hoppy. Bursting with floral notes, yet very well balanced.
Finish - Big dry finish.
Drinkability - Strong but balanced gives the hop-head a literal joyride of taste from the first sip to the last. Easily drinkable.

13) Southern Tier - Imperial Gemini - 10.5% ABV:

This ale required two photos due to the care and craft Southern Tier took with the bottling of this fantastic, one of a kind blended ale. The top of the bottle is sealed with wax.

Appearance - Amber red, pours with a strong, hoppy head.
Nose - Extremely hoppy.
Palette - Clean and hoppy. Subtle body, making it very drinkable. Bursting with floral notes.
Finish - As dry, if not dryer, than an IPA should be. A perfect finish.
Drinkability - This blend is fantastic and truly has a character of its own. A hop-heads dream drink.

14) Allagash - Musette - Oak aged Belgian style Scotch Ale - 10% ABV:

I love all the beers that come from Allagash Brewery in Maine. I have never had one I didn't enjoy from start to finish without exceptions. They are, in my mind, the Geniuses of East Coast Brewing. My favorite still is Allagash's Interlude, which exemplifies the cross-over between the finest Ales and the finest wines. Musette was particularly strong and warming with a lush Scotch character.

Appearance - Deep amber. Pours a rich, unbelievably creamy thick head. Retention of the head was also very impressive.
Nose - Spicy with Oak.
Palette - Strong and warming Scotch flavors with hints of Oak toward the end. Wow!
Finish - Surprisingly clean, leaving on the Oak hints behind.
Drinkability - I would call this much more of an after dinner drink. It's big and bold and great for enjoying next to a warm, roaring fire. Highly recommended, as with all brews from Allagash.

15) Brooklyn Brewing - Local 1 - Belgian Style Ale - 9% ABV

Garrette Oliver's powerful interpretation of a Belgian triple. Perfect for pairing with food. One of Brooklyn Brewing's finest.

Appearance - Bright Golden with a rich, quickly dissipating head.
Nose - Spicy with hints of yeast.
Palette - Very clean and simple with hints of citrus. La Chouffe-like came to mind.
Finish - Very clean.
Drinkability - Very drinkable, non-multidimensional and enjoyable. A solid Belgian style ale.

16) Southern Tier - Tripel - 9% ABV:

A wonderful albeit strong Belgian style triple from Southern Tier in New York.

Appearance - Unfiltered, deep golden with a nice head.
Nose - Strength from the alcohol with citrus notes.
Palette - Very strong and warming. One powerful ale.
Finish - Malty, but not overly so.
Drinkability - A bit strong on the alcohol flavors, but that's what a good Tripel should be.

Current Mood: cheerful
Friday, January 18th, 2008
11:54 pm
#8 Black Chocolate Stout Brooklyn Brewery (US Domestic). Recommended by one of the liquor store clerks who shared the exploration of beer styles with me. Was a bit expensive at nearly $11 for a 6 pack, and has a kick at over 10% abv. VERY dark beer, looks like molasses or motor oil. Thin light brown head. Extremely sweet chocolate aroma.

I'm still learning this whole beer experimentation. I need to stop taking a drink after pouring the beer right away. The first few sips are always very strong. Reading beeradvocate.com, that's when the volatiles are releasing as aromas.

After a few minutes the beer (and in fact most of the beers I've had over the past month or so) becomes VERY good. Very sweet chocolate that gives way to some hoppy bitterness, but the aftertaste slightly sweetens back up.

Four stars
Thursday, January 17th, 2008
9:31 pm
#7 JW Dundee's Original Honey Brown (US Domestic) I had this beer a long time ago and remember it fondly. I go to drink it and its not as sweet as I remember it, slightly hoppy. As I finished the first one and got to the second, the taste started coming back to me more. I think I've gotten burned on frigid cold - high carbonation and any beer that has that is an instant turn off. As the temperature came up and the carbonation faded away the sweetness and flavors came out more. Nice sweet aroma. Decent beer, worthy to be included in any US Domestic beer garden.

Three stars but make sure you pour a good head and take it out of the fridge for 5 minutes before opening.
Sunday, January 13th, 2008
11:52 pm
Gift from a friend
Was over at a friend's house trying out that Rock Band game. They offered me a beer. Coors Light? ... naw. Miller Light? ... that's ok .... Sam Adams? ... ok you twisted my arm.

#6 Sam Adams Boston Lager (US. Domestic) Had this one before. Good standard lager. I consider Sam Adams the 4th largest brewer in the US. and Sam Adams makes the best of the 4. They could be considered a small macrobrewery or a large microbrewery. Thier main flavor is the Boston Lager. Doesn't have much adventure compared to other beers in the world, but is much better than the standard American Lager fare. Nice mix of sweet malt and hops. Not much aftertaste. Only ever had it cold. I'll have to try it at closer to room temperature to see if theres any flavor loss or gain.

Two and a half stars

Bottled my first batch here at home. It probably won't be impressive but its a start.

Current Mood: headache
5:50 am
Late, but decent start...
Disclaimer - I'm a severe hop-head and love the flowery, bitterness in beer. The more, the merrier. I shy away from the bigger, sweeter, heavier, maltier stouts, porters, etc. Although, I love all beers, I love the beer that bites back. The more challenging it is on the palette the more it tends to achieve a multi-dimensional character that requires much thought to properly review. So, I might have some wicked-hardcore tastes within my reviews. You've been warned :)

1) Chimay - Cinq Cents Strong Belgian White - An all-time personal favorite. Easy to drink and incredibly strong. My first beer of the year.

2) Victory Brewing Company - Hop Wallop IPA (Hand-pumped) - Yea, a hand-pumped IPA. I just had to give it a shot in case it turned out better than I had anticipated. I prefer it out of a regular tap or bottle. This is one incredible beer by Victory. Bold and assertive hop character, a generous amount of body and strength, and easily drinkable.

Hop Wallop was recently written up by the New York Times as guided by Brooklyn Brewery's own Brewmaster Garrett Oliver. Go Pennsylvania Craft Breweries!

3) Nogne O - IPA - This is the first time I got to sit down and slowly enjoy this beer. I'm happy I did, it deserves a lot of attention. Clean, crisp IPA with a subtle malt character toward the end. Hints of spice from the malt persist for a short period after sampling. A delicious Norwegian brew.

4) De Proef Brouwerij - Flemish Primitive Wild Ale -

On August 30th of 2007, the day the public found out Michael Jackson passed away, Elizabeth and I headed to Ortino's Northside, our favorite local beer bar, with one of Jackson's books in hand. We drank from the book all night. It was then that I sampled my first Flemish Sour ale brewed by Rodenbach. I was suddenly intrigued that I had not come across this style of brew before. Elizabeth decided that 2008 might be the year she starts trying out this style of beer. I decided it would be a good idea as well as it will take some time to train my palette to understand the variances.

De Proef's Flemish Primitive is strong at 9% ABV, yet drinks incredibly easily, although with such a large bottle I only could drink half of it. After looking this one up, I found that it is tripple fermented with two types of yeast. The sourness is, from what I could tell, a two part deal. One large part yeast flavoring. And one smaller part hop. Most of its flavor comes from what I can tell as being the yeast lending a character much like a lambic yeast. This beer is multi-dimensional and had extraordinarily sour flavors on the palette long after sampling. Flavors which I have yet to decipher for myself. I spent a long time slowly sampling this one and enjoyed it with a dish of steamed clams.

5) 3 Floyds - Gumballhead - I needed something refreshing following the sour ale. My choice was Indiana's best hoppy wheat beer, Gumballhead.This is another all-time personal favorite. Light, refreshing, and hoppy. Clean and crisp. The wheat aftertaste is perfectly complimented by the dry hopped character.

6) Rock Bottom - Prussia's Pride IPA - A bold, crisp and fresh IPA from this impressive chain of brewpubs.

7) Rock Bottom - Saint Nick's IPA - Sampled this and wasn't very impressed. Typically, I expect off-menu IPAs to have a bolder character than their headliner selections. And for something named Saint Nick, I was expecting a big beer worthy of such a Jolly Fat Man. It lacked in both body and flavor, but was still not bad for a simple IPA. Poor naming I suppose.

8) Rock Bottom - Sub Zero IPA - Sampled this one and again, not impressed. Sub zero would typically mean another step in the brewing process where a percentage of the water element is removed in freezing leaving a stronger than average beer behind. This was not the case. Again, I was presented with a average IPA with a decent hop character, but no where near a show stopper.

1 & 2 were enjoyed at Ortino's Northside

3 - 5 were enjoyed at Union Jack's Inn on the Manatawny

6 - 8 were enjoyed at Rock Bottom Brew Pub in King of Prussia

Current Mood: happy
Wednesday, January 9th, 2008
10:16 pm
#5 Steel Reserve 211 (US domestic) Wife wanted something sweet (she got a Hershey bar). I wanted to add to the list. Looking through the hum drums in the convenience store cooler I come across this one. I asked the clerk if it was any good. The clerk said with his slight central Asian accent "I love this stuff, they don't have it around here much so I made the boss order it. It has kick though". It does that, per the label its 8.1% abv. Very bitter, and not the good hoppy bitter. Aroma is more like someone squeeze a 6 pack of Miller Genuine Draft into a 22 oz bottle. Scent of mashed corn is definitely discernible (much like the smell of the 4 Roses, Wild Turkey or Buffalo Trace distillery over in Frankfort and Lawrenceburg when they boil off their mash once a month). Taste is a bit like a strong Miller (fill in the blank). Disappointed after the gas station clerk's glowing review. As I continued to drink it, the taste went further and further away becoming very VERY watery. Product of the high alcohol content? I'm still typing this review aren't I? I can't be that gone.

95% of why I drink beer? One and half stars
If you want to get very drunk very fast? four stars
Tuesday, January 8th, 2008
9:39 pm
Nearly off the norm
#4. Blue Moon (pseudo domestic, bottled in Canada). This is a Belgian White wheat ale. Light in color, cloudy. I keep seeing commercials for Budweiser talking about "clear and fresh blah blah blah". Cloudy beer is fine. Blue Moon is a better Belgian White than I had over Christmas. I forget what that one is, the empty bottle is downstairs, but it too was a Belgian white that was cloudy. Anyways. Blue Moon was very light, with enough bitterness to make you double take on the first drink. Decent drink.

Two and a half stars
Sunday, January 6th, 2008
10:14 pm
A few seasonal beers
#6. Friday I tasted the current seasonal brew of the local brewpub. This used to be their autumn beer, called Indian Summer Ale, which was a pun on it being an IPA. Later they renamed it Trondhjem Mikrobryggeri Global Warming, when they increased the hops to a Double IPA, and now they serve it several times a year. Oh well, they are hopheads ... and I'm not. It is golden to copper, clear, creamy and full-bodied, and above all, it is hoppy - both in aroma and bitterness. Another one? Only to help empty the tank so we can get from this hop-extremism and on to the next seasonal beer.

#7. Saturday I tasted the traditional Christmas ale brewed in Stjørdal valley some 30 miles to the east of Trondheim. The farmers out there have been malting and brewing this type of beer - Maltøl fra Stjørdal - every year since at least the Viking age - quite literally. It is hard to get, as you cannot buy it, you have to know somebody and be given a bottle. This particular beer was heavily smoky with the smoke from alder. Further, it is quite malty, somewhat sweet, the color is copper. It is unclear, totally flat, have no head, somewhat heavier than medium-bodied, rather strong (I estimate 7%), and with very low bitterness - all which are in style for this type of beers. I love it, but others hate it. Another one? Certainly, if only I can get one.
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