Monday, September 15, 2008
Pushing the charts at close to 10% is Siberian Night, an Imperial Stout from The Thirsty Dog Brewing Company. And what an Imperial Stout it is. The beer pours jet black with a thin, brown head that fades away quickly. The aroma is very roasty with notes of coffee, dark chocolate, and alcohol. The mouth feel of this beer is massive. The flavor is very malty, sweet, and layered with chocolate, coffee, black licorice, and a slight burnt flavor. The finish is very mildly bitter.
There's not much to not love about this beer. It's strong, the taste is incredible, and Thirsty Dog is out of Akron, so it's a hometown brew. Much applause to Thirsty Dog for this delicious beer!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
The Brewski Brothers are unabashed college football fans, with all of their true loyalties lying with The Ohio State University. This weekend's matchup between Ohio State and Southern Cal has been a frequent topic of discussion between Los Brothers de la Brewski. We think that the perfect beer to enjoy while watching the game is a 22oz bottle of Buckeye Brewing Company's Hippie India Pale Ale. It has a nice pine and citrus hop presence, which compliments its pleasantly smooth maltiness. At $4.49 per 22oz bomber, we think it's a square deal. Win or lose, toast one to the Buckeyes and enjoy the DDD (Delightful Dramatic Distraction) and be sure to get a DD (Designated Driver.) Tresselball rules say "Play it safe." Listen to the coach! Go Buckeyes!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
All of this being said, I can't help but be somewhat let down by Brooklyn's East India Pale Ale. I still enjoyed this beer and liked it, but I was expecting more from Brooklyn. The beer poured a clear copper/orange color with a huge white, foamy head. It looked quite nice. But the aroma was lacking... slightly fruity and yeasty, but not much hops present. The aroma was misleading, though, as hops were very present in the flavor. However, the hops lingered too long. The hops had a resiny quality that made the finish overly bitter. The hops didn't add the crispness to it that I was expecting. The beer is still tasty, but not very well balanced with a resiny hoppiness I didn't really enjoy. Oh well, Monster Ale will be here in a Month or two...
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
The real Harold Ramis
No, I am not on the Dogfish Head payroll. Though I frequently tout their beers, I am merely a fan. Their Black & Blue is a Belgian golden ale made with over 300 pounds of fresh blueberries and blackberries per batch. Dogfish is at it again, so I could not resist this seemingly odd beverage. By the way, who is that guy on the label? He looks like Elliot Gould in an A&E bio flick playing John Adams. No wait, he looks like Harold Ramis hanging out at the Playboy Mansion...
The pour reveals that Black & Blue is neither black, nor blue. It has a transparent light pink color, with a slight carnation colored head. The aromas has a good amount of yeast, with refreshing notes of berries and Belgian spice. On the palate, I discovered lots of blackberries. The blueberries were only apparent on the finish. Also, the palate had nice elements of sweet malt, coriander and even lavender. Like I said, the blueberries are evident on the mildly tart finish. I nice end of summer selection, which amazing has 10% alcohol. If you're out in the sun, I would definitely split a 750ml bottle with a friend rather than attempting it on your own. Very sneaky.
This Dogfish Head beverage is quite tasty, though it is a tad expensive for what it is at $11.99 per 750ml. But, that is to be expected when you toss in 300 pounds of fresh berries. Those suckers aren't cheap! All in all, this is a good substitute for a sparkling wine or a prosecco. Expensive for a beer, but it is quite affordable if you treat it like a wine. Good for a lazy Sunday summer brunch with fresh fruit and a few friends. I bet this one will convert a few of your wine drinker friends into the world of beer.
I have decided to post a bit of a Dogfish Head mini-marathon with 2 individual Dogfish Head selections for your reading enjoyment. First up, is their Raison D'Extra. This beer is quite rare and difficult to find, but it is worth seeking out. One of the strongest beers in the world, Raison D'Extra is a Belgian ale made with green raisins, beet sugar and a high-test Belgian ale yeast. Essentially, Dogfish took their original Raison d'Etre and pumped it up to over 20% alcohol.
It pours a murky reddish amber color with no head. Carbonation is solid, especially for such a strong beer. Aromas of raisins, caramel, figs, dates, alcohol and honey dominate. On the palate, it is quite sweet with its raisin, port wine and molasses flavors. It is malty, but quite balanced, especially with the raisin and Brandy-like zest popping on the back of your tongue, finishing with the alcohol heat following the beer down your throat before extinguishing. Quite amazing. I was a bit iffy on this one, but I had to give it a shot and it exceeded my expectations.
Raison d'Extra is a perfect substitute for brandy or port. Enjoy from a snifter at fireside and you'll be ready for a long winter's nap. A nightcap disguised as a beer. As for nightcaps, I don't wear them, but I certainly enjoy drinking them.
Beer is a religion to some. Many follow the masses and worship at the feet of Budweiser, Heineken and even Corona. Some demand more from their religion than just a predictable palate sermon. Those who do demand more possess two distinct beliefs...
1.) Yes, beer is a religion.
2.) But, good beer is truly divine.
That brings us to The Reverend, from Avery. It is a Belgian-style quadrupel ale brewed with dark candied sugar and various spices. Avery Brewing Company is out of Boulder, Colorado, home of the University of Colorado and numerous breweries. With college kids and an abundance of beer in such close proximity, Boulder must be a rockin' town on Saturdays when the Buffalo football team has a home game. The Reverend pours a cloudy dark golden color. The head fizzled surprisingly quick, but head retention can be tough for quadrupels. The aromas of clove, orange and peach run wild. On the palate, the mouthfeel was syrupy and sickeningly sweet. It has overwhelming flavors of Fruity Pebbles and the carbonation was too light, which made it seem like a Belgian tripel extract (just add club soda or your favorite mineral water.) I hate this beer. What a disappointment.
Avery is usually quite good and I really like their imperial India Pale Ale and Barleywine. In fact, I generally enjoy most of their offerings. Not "The Reverend" though. I found him to be heavy-handed, meandering, sappy and distractingly pointless. Sorry, I will not be attending another sermon at the Church of Brew if this beer is preaching. Just ain't my thang.
Can you smell that in the air? It's officially football season. The weather shall be becoming brisk and chilly soon enough, so the Brewski Brothers are hoping to get the jump on Autumn with some pre-Fall beer selections. First up, Southern Tier Creme Brulee Stout. At first, I found the concept to be a headscratcher. But, I found enough resolve to purchase and sample a 22oz bottle. At 8.0% alcohol by volume, at least it wouldn't be a boring venture.
Labelled as "a stout brewed with vanilla beans," the aroma was as expected. Lots of vanilla, caramel, coffee, Crackerjacks and roasted hazlenut. The palate was chocolately, with burnt caramel, Werther's Originals and espresso flavor combining with the blatant vanilla notes. As the finish lingers, the bitterness from the roasted grains and scorched vanilla became more evident. The hops are barely noticeable, but help keep this dessert beverage under control and also hide the alcohol quite well. No bullhonky, this stuff tastes exactly like creme brulee! How did they figure it out?
Congratulations to Southern Tier, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite microbreweries in the United States. Never bad, always solid and usually interesting, Southern Tier gets it. They have a selection of typical microbrews, which are quite pleasant, drinkable and accessible to casual beer fans. Then, they get wacky and make some really esoteric brews with inspiration from places unknown in the human mind. Creme Brulee is not a session beer to be sure, but it is a perfect sweet sipper on a crisp Autumn evening.