Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lost Coast Indica

First off, love the label. Sort of Picasso-like portrait of Ganesha (Hindu God). The color is a hazy orange, but the aroma... Oh the aroma. I could live in a solitary confinement for the rest of my life as long as it smelled like this. Very hop forward, piney with a little bit of sweetness. Then you get the taste. Piney, citrus. There is some sticky hop resin, but overall a lighter mouthfeel that's smooth drinking. This is a good IPA.  the 6.5% ABV isn't noticed, but what is noticed are the hops. Lost Coast's website says the following:
"Indica is a hoppy, full-bodied ale. It has a higher than average alcohol content balanced by radical bittering from Columbus hops, then dry hopped with generous amounts of Willamette and Centennial hop flowers."
This is what I need on a cold winter night. Hops, and copious amounts of them. The more hop characteristics, the better. Hm.... We still have Three Frogs IPA to review, and a Hopslam in the fridge.

I've had this before, and yet, I still find it's a great beer, though, not a front runner in my favorite IPA category (thank you Flying Dog single hop series for dominating the top 2 spots). The only thing that keeps this from being a perfect 5 is this is lacking something, which I cannot put my finger on at this point.

4/5 caps


This is a hop bomb. In your face pine notes and some citrus abound. We've found it on tap at a couple of neighborhood bars, always under a custom label. It's good... I think what it lacks is a bit of structure. There's very little malt backbone to this brew. Not quite as little as, say, Lagunitas Daytime IPA, but I find it relatively unbalanced. But if you're craving hops, it provides plenty.

3.5/5 caps


Moerlein Christkindl

Moerlein, out of Cincinnati, is quickly becoming one of my favorite Ohio breweries. Even though they label themselves as a lager house, I thoroughly enjoy their pale ale and Northern Liberties IPA, as well as their double bock and some of their other lagers. And, if you've been reading this blog, you know we like winter warmers. Sure, it's almost February, but it's snowing outside tonight and feels like we should be in northern Minnesota or the U.P. (that's the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, for those of you not from this region). This seemed a perfect addition to our mixed six-pack.

Christkindl pours a dark amber color with a thick caramel-colored head that takes awhile to dissipate and leaves moderate lacing in the glass. The nose is biscuity and malty. The first sip is also malty and well-balanced with subtle spices. I pick up some nutmeg and possibly ginger, maybe some clove, but none of them overwhelm. It's sweet but not cloying, with some chocolate notes coming out in the middle. This is one of the best-balanced winter warmers I've had. It's also well-rounded in the mouthfeel.

Another solid offering from Moerlein....

3.9/5 caps


As Jennie stated, the pour is a dark amber. The aroma is sheer awesome. The taste is malty, like a good British style winter warmer. Hints of chocolate and spice. Despite it being a moderate 6.95% ABV beer, it lives up to its name by Winter Warmer. Seriously, this cold isn't right, but the beer is. Thank goodness there are great European-influenced beers that are brewed here in Ohio.

4/5 caps


Bell's Winter White Ale

Yet another tasty selection from Bell's.

The aroma is a nice typical Belgian white beer sort of smell. In the taste, the Belgian yeast strain comes out, along with coriander, clove and some slight fruity notes. Nice light body with moderate carbonation. A good witbier, regardless of the weather outside.

3.8/5 caps


This is a classic from Bell's, their winter seasonal. It's something you would almost expect to see in the summer, because it's a witbier. Unless they use winter wheat, like Triscuit does. Mmm Triscuits.

This pours a light orange color, hazy as one would expect from a witbier. There is a white head that dissipates pretty quickly, leaving little to no lacing on the glass. The nose is very mild, and the first sip is malty, noble hoppy, and Belgian yeast fantasticness. This is a perfect example of a Belgian strain I love. One of the things I like best about this beer is the velvety mouthfeel. It's not too spicy, not too sweet. It reminds me of Hoegaarden, only better. It's what Blue Moon wishes it could be. And please, don't even think about putting a wedge of citrus fruit on it. This beer is well-crafted and stands on its own just fine, thank you very much. Or, thank you, Larry Bell, very much.

This would be a great gateway beer for those new to craft beers. It's perfectly balanced and just right for novice palates. And yes, Nathan, I promise we'll review more Flying Dog soon, as we've been heavily skewed on my favorite brewery. I sense some Shock and Awe coming soon.

4.1/5 caps


Rivertown BlueBerry

Sigh. Rivertown, you usually put out great beers. Pumpkin? Was a hit and common in our house around Halloween. Hop Bomber? Fuck yeah. Roebling was a near-rapturous experience (especially when paired with Blue Moon's Peanut Butter Ale. I shit you not. If you can find the Blue Moon PB, try it stat. Unless you have a peanut allergy, and then don't, because I don't need your death on my conscience). I can tell by the label that there's a high probability I'm going to be disappointed in this beer. It's a lager with artificial flavoring. Wish I'd noticed this before Nathan threw it in the sixer. Oh well, worth a shot, and we've both been eying this over the last year or so.

It pours the typical light golden lager color. But it smells good... I'm instantly transported back to the 1980's, when there was this awesome cereal called Blueberry Waffelos. And I start giggling, because I feel like I'm drinking underage again. That cereal was The Shit. In case you don't remember, here's a picture of the box:

Side note, make sure you spell it right if you Google it, lest you get results for some revolting sexually transmitted disease.

Back to the future.... I mean the beer. It tastes like I poured PBR over my Blueberry Waffelos. It's very light-bodied. The blueberry is prevalent throughout the taste, and overwhelms and yet doesn't overwhelm the rest of the beer. I mean, it's a lager.... it's not exactly a flavor bomb in your mouth, except for the blueberry. Moderate structure, moderate body, smooth-as-a-baby's-butt mouthfeel.

1.5/5 caps, because I really don't like beer on my cereal


The aroma is definitely strong blueberry. The flavor profile is like, well, a lager with artificial blueberry flavoring added. It's like putting a Dum-Dum sucker in your mouth while drinking PBR.  Nothing really outstanding here. It's drinkable, yes, but not breath taking.  One note I'd like to add is that the blueberry flavoring lasts on the back end for a while. It lingers for a bit.  This will call for the palate cleanser of the night, Kroger brand double-stuffed chocolate cream Oreo-wannabes. 

3/5 caps, because I DO like beer on my cereal.


21st Amendment Sneak Attack

This is 21st Amendment's latest seasonal offering. I've been eying it since I saw it on the shelves. I have really enjoyed saisons over the last year, and 21st Amendment usually puts out a decent brew. The can declares that it is a farmhouse ale brewed with cardamom.

This pours a light golden color with a very light head that quickly dissipates. The cardamom really comes through in the nose. It smells like a typical farmhouse ale, a style that I'm hit or miss with, depending on the yeast used (and yet, I typically like saisons... go figure). As a side note, one of my goals for this year is to develop my palate for Belgian yeasts, some of which I find a little off-putting. It's a crisp beer, with the cardamom coming through at each stage. It's smooth, almost as if there were some wheat in it (although, unlike Nathan, I am not reminded of Blue Moon, which I don't care for). The finish on it reminds me of a dry cider, which I rather enjoy. It has a solid structure, fairly well-balanced and not too malty or hoppy. Not too sweet, not too dry. As I work my way through the brew, I find myself wanting more, which is a good sign, right?

Hmmmm.... cardamom cider. Maybe a homebrew experiment to come.

4/5 caps


Jennie's been interested in this brew for a while. We finally obtained some in the Mixed 6 Du Jour. 21st Amendment's site says this:
"You might not expect a Saison in winter. But the enemy didn't expect Washington to cross the icy Delaware, either. Expectations be damned, we say."
How true. Ohio weather decided to bless us the past couple days with record setting highs of 67 and 65 degrees, then today was single-digit wind chill and icy roads. Not really what I think is Saison weather, but at 6.2% ABV, might as well.

The aroma is like Blue Moon, only in the sense that the cardamom comes through. The color is a nice light golden color, the typical farmhouse-Saison color, as it should be. The flavor profile is interesting. It's spicy with the cardamom and Belgian yeast strain, slight malt tones, not overly hoppy. It also brings Blue Moon to mind, only better. Nothing too impressive on this bitterly cold night. It was worth trying it though, as 21st Amendment puts out amazing brews, all in can form.

3.5/5 caps


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Magic Hat Pistil

Magic Hat. Brilliant company that we suspect has a witchy vibe to them (i.e. Elder Betty's description on the six-pack holder). Haven't really had any brews from them that I haven't enjoyed. Even though they're more widely distributed than most, they still put out a fantastic product.

The color is light, hazy yellow.  Very light, solid white head. The aroma is sweeter, like grassy and straw tones. It reminds me of living in the country for some reason... not exactly sure why, it just does. First sip- sweeter, with earthy, flowery tones (probably because it's brewed with dandelion petals). Slight hop tinge toward the back. Finishes nice, crisp and clean. Great beer that we thought was just a seasonal brew. It lacks something to me, that I can't place my finger on, and that is the only reason it's getting a 4.3/5 rating. I could speculate for hours on what it could be, but it doesn't solve the issue. Still love Magic Hat (bring back the Odd Notion ginger beer you had a couple years ago!).

4.3/5 caps


It smells like freshly mowed grass in early June. And yet it's set against a solid American Pale Ale backbone. I'd suggest letting it warm up at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before drinking -- the hops really come out when it's warmer. It was a perfect mid-afternoon beer, and yet, I'm a little disappointed now, too, that we've had some dinner and time to absorb the good and bad brews consumed today. 

We first had this last summer as part of Magic Hat's summer mixed sampler. It blew us away. It also contained the Elder Betty, which was fantastic. I think I actually squealed when I saw an entire sixer of it at Savor today. It was a touch better fresh. 

We usually let Phil, my dad, at least taste some of the more unusual brews we try. He's a self-avowed wine guy... loves a dry red and has at least a glass or two nightly. In fact, before my cognitive memory kicked in, he used to brew wine. Dandelion wine, especially. He loved the Simtra. He loves a good stout. His reaction to this: it's good, but I preferred [the Simtra]. Mind you, he's also 2 or 3 CC-and-gingers in. Because that's how Phil rolls. I mean, the NHL was back tonight... we expected nothing less of him than to celebrate. Thoroughly. Awesome win by the Jackets tonight in an exciting shootout, by the way.

4.17/5 caps -- only because I can't decide between 4 and 4.5


Knee Deep Brewing Co. Simtra Triple IPA

Thank goodness. After the abomination on my taste buds that was the prior review (Olde English... I shuddered typing that), this is a very welcome change to my palate. So, our day started by crawling out of bed mid-morning, and as soon as I brewed the coffee, there was a knock at the door. It was none other than Jimmy and Bret, planning a post-breakfast Kape-Shad invasion. They came bearing Hopslam. They quickly rose to the top of my esteemed colleagues and dearest friends. We proceeded to drink the beer in our fridge (Yuengling), and then the boys went on a beer run. The brought back PBR (ok, I'm totally down with that), a Genny Cream Ale and an Olde English. Ugh on the last. Seriously, I think my tastebuds were more affronted than Anita Hill was by Clarence Thomas was in the 1990's. Anyway, after consuming a couple of PBR's midday, we headed over to Bret's house. Oh, who am I kidding, it's really Britlerhaven these days. On our way there, we stopped down the road at one of our favorite stores, Savor (nee Clintonville  Market).

According to the co-owner at Savor, this brewing company is very new to Columbus, I think he said within the last ten days or so. We spied this, and knew it was right up our alley. Simtra? We presume a combination of our two favorite hop strains, Simcoe and Citra... and it bills itself as a Triple IPA, with 131 IBU's. Oh yes, I'm in! Mind you, "triple IPA" is an arbitrary assignment by the brewer, but still, it just promises rainbows and unicorns once you uncap it.

It pours a medium orange color with a very pale off-white colored head that doesn't stick around too long, probably because it's "barely legal" (in Ohio) at 11.25% ABV. The lacing is fantastic. Solid alcohol legs. Pure grapefruit and citrus in the nose, perhaps with just a tinge of pine also. This is one of the most complex hop bombs I've had... differently complex than my other love, Hopslam. The foretaste is all grapefruit... the middle is almost honey-sweet, and straight up pine needles on the backside, like the prettiest porcupine you've ever put in your mouth. The mouthfeel, to me, is straight-up silk.

Oh. My. Goddess. I'm in love. Thank you for being the complete antithesis to OE, which was precisely what I had hoped.

Apparently the brewery is out of Lincoln, CA. Welcome to Columbus. And Ohio. And my mouth (insert "that's what she said" joke here). We paid $8.99 for a 22-ounce bomber.

5/5 caps


Oh... I see, so now I'm the asshole because I bought cheap beer to review... but mind you- I also bought this.

Simtra. Oh, Simtra. You were exactly what we thought you were- according to Knee Deep's website- Simcoe and Citra. If you were a woman, I would imagine you'd look like a combination of Emma Stone, Megan Fox (pre-dating douche and popping out a child), Kiera Knightley, and Natalie Portman. You would break hearts and make mouths water. You have half of that right now. In between each sip, my mouth craves your caress, your loving blast of hoppiness.

I understand why this brew has a 100 rating on Ratebeer and a 95 on Beeradvocate.. This is just simply amazing. As Jennie said, the initial taste is grapefruit fading to piney on the back. It's crazy because you never stop tasting hops. It's a complex brew that perfectly fades between all the different hop characteristics that leaves you wanting more. The alcohol (being rather high at 11.25%) is not noticed at all. This is bad for one reason. I could be drinking this- it goes down smoother than the chicks (Simpson's reference about 'Peeps' marshmallow things)- then wham the alcohol sneaks up on me, kicks me in my male genitalia, and leaves me crying like a little girl scout who's cookies were just stolen. This frightens and intrigues me at the same time... I'm already feeling a hell of a nice, warm, almost wine like buzz from this (instead of a typical 'eh, I'm drunk' beer buzz. The wine buzz is nice and warm feeling that makes me put on my fuzzy pajama pants and hug everyone and everything, but I digress).

I really have nothing to add to this other than I hope to try other selections from this brewery in the near future, and if you've made it this far in the review, you should go and buy a bottle of this.

5/5 caps


Olde English 800 Malt Liquor

Yeah- it's one of those kind of days. You start drinking Yuengling and PBR at 11 am, and then you think it would be a good idea to drink Olde English and review it. But to be fair, this is out of our norm, so it shows the different varieties.

Also, upcoming is the First Annual Patrick J Hauser Memorial Malt Liquor Championship (coming in Feb 2013). We'll have reviews from samples of a huge array of malt liquors from our good friends who will be attending said event. Olde English will be entered into the championship.

One last thing before we start the review. The last time I had Olde English, was Athens, Ohio, back in like 2007 when we pulled an Edward 40-hands night... not the clearest of memories...

Olde English is a malt liquor from Miller Brewing Co, also attributed to the Pabst Brewing Co (which Miller Coors owns). Apparently, no one wants full credit for this creation. It has, somehow, won some Great American Beer Festival awards (Gold in '91,'92, '94, '95 & '97. Silver in '90).

So to begin the review. The pour is a very light, very transparent, light gold. I said light twice because it's that light in color. Looking through it, it adds a yellowish hue to everything, but never actually obstructing the view with color... wow... I did good by picking this up.

The aroma is sweeter, slightly straw smelling. No sign of hops of the aroma. First taste wasn't actually as bad as expected.  Sweeter, no real taste, no lingering flavors. Just a sweeter initial flavor with nothing else. Kind of a dry finish. Jennie gives a yuck face....

Not worth purchasing unless King Cobra is sold out.



It tastes like rancid sweat socks that have been sitting in a gym for 3 days after a pulse-pounding workout, mixed with despair. I had to Monkify it (that is, turn it into a brass monkey, or add orange juice to it) so as to not pour it down the sink. Definitely cranking up the Beastie Boys now.



Genesee Cream Ale

Note: this is not our photo. This was taken from as we did not take a picture of the can before recycling it.

Genesee Cream Ale. 5.1% ABV served out of a can. 99 cents a can. Hmmm... Can't be that bad, can it?

Upon first look, it's a light golden ale. Completely clean, as in no sediment. Decent head on it. The aroma is... um... how do I word this nicely. Like a sweet concoction of almost apple juice.

The taste isn't much better. It tastes like apple juice with some coffee creamer added. This is pretty bad. I prefer malt liquor to this. The best thing I can say about this is I'm not dumping it down the drain (even though I have 3 more beers to review tonight). Third and fourth sips aren't any better. I get no flavors of hops or malt, just all adjunct BS with coffee creamer.

I'm going to just chug this so I can get it over with. I wouldn't even recommend beer pong with this.  figured since these are the same people that make Dundee, that this would at least be a drinkable beer.... questionable. Still better than Bud Chilada.

Also note: I am eating stale Skittles to get the taste out of my mouth.

1/5 caps


I had to look up exactly what comprised a cream ale. Apparently it's a top-fermenting ale to which bottom-fermenting lager yeasts are added. And often, adjuncts, such as corn or rice, as with most American mass-produced swill. Huh. Interesting. It's pretty much this and Little Kings for the mass market of cream ales.

I laughed my ass off when Nathan came home with this. I don't think I've had this since some long-forgotten New Year's Eve party when I was still in junior high. Without giving the cow away, let's just say we also watched some very early Letterman that night. You know, back when he was still funny (sorry, Sid. He lost funny about the time he hired you full-time). And no, my dad doesn't know I was drinking that night, so let's just not tell him, okay?

Back to the beer. The aroma reminds me of King Cobra, for some reason. Before I turn it into brass monkey. Monkify it, if you will. Now, of course, you'll need to cue up some Beastie Boys... and go.

There is an apple juice quality to it... I'll give Nathan that. It's honestly not that bad, I don't think. Pretty damn drinkable. It has won many years and many medals at the Great American Beer Festival, although none since 2005. I find the creamy quality to come out on the back side. It's smoother than my 5-year-old's bottom. It's almost like they added talcum powder to round out the mouthfeel. I'm starting to wonder why I shunned this for so long. I think I might describe it as eminently palatable. Really not terrible at all. I wouldn't have too much problem putting this on my really broke go-to list.

But that's just me.

2.5/5 caps


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dundee's Honey Brown

All I can think is that this is going to be such a letdown after last night's Hopslam debauchery. Sigh. But we can't have Hopslam 365 days a year. Oh, but if we could... and yes, I'm saving the last bottle of this six-pack for my nightcap.

Facepalm back to reality. Dundee's Honey Brown is another go-to that's in our refrigerator not infrequently. It's an affordable, decent brew, very mild and easy-drinking. It pours a medium amber color with a white head that doesn't last too long. The aroma is well-balanced, with definite notes of the honey coming through and some lovely malt characteristics present. The honey is present from the get-go in this brew, without overwhelming. There are solid malts and a moderate hop presence in this, with a faintly metallic aftertaste, though that may come from the can that was the container. It's a fairly innocuous beer, not outstanding in any way, and by no means offensive. It's sweet, like a good sweet tea, yet the sweetness doesn't kill the beer.It does, however, lend a little bit of stickiness to the mouthfeel.

Honey Brown is fairly widely available, in 12-ounce bottles as well as 24-ounce cans. At 99 cents a can or $10 for a 12-pack, we will often pick up a few of the cans to stretch our beer dollar.

3/5 caps


Overall a decent brew. I consider Dundee to be a great gateway company. They have mixed 12 packs with different styles. I consider that a great way to experience styles without spending a lot. They have a stout, IPA, and a couple different rotating flavors. "Hey, I like this citrusy bitter thing- this India Pale Ale, but this stout is a little too dark for my liking."- BAM- you've been experienced to different styles other than just the American Lagers.

That being said- back to this particular one, the Honey Brown. For being a cheaper lager, it's very drinkable, and not one of those "let's play beer pong" brews. a good go-to if you're low on funds but want something with some flavor.

3/5 caps

Bell's Hopslam

The residual staling of hops on my tongue...
The warmth of alcohol coursing through my veins.
-Ode To Hopslam, Jennie, 1/15/2012

Ah, my favorite beer. Ever. Hands down. I only wish it came out more than once a year. Or not... I'd be even more broke than I already am.

This beer is worth the hype. Last night, the night of its first release in Ohio, the St. James Tavern blew through a keg in five hours. Yes, it's that good.

By the way, the kitty above is Thatcher, my beloved  BFF in feline form of 16 years. She's pretty, isn't she? (That's rhetorical, of course.) Thatcher is Queen Shit of Fuck Mountain, and she's not afraid to tell you. Like my dad, Phil, she's earned her stripes and bitching rights. But she's also the first to take care of you in any time of need. She has seen me through heartaches and physical maladies, all tightly by my side. She's an amazing lap kitty, and her favorite perch is our bed, where she yells at the other cats who try to pass. Nathan decided that our familiars, our feline buddies and owners, would enjoy a photo with Hopslam. As you can see from the photos, they do. Clearly. Clearly, I'm also Crazy Cat Lady as well as Crazy Beer Lady.

Back to the beer. And the technicalities. And the boring stuff. So, color is a medium orange tone, mildly hazy. The scent? Oh, the scent. I could wear this as perfume and be quite satisfied. Piney. Heavenly. This is the stuff I've been waiting for all year. There is a medium off-white head that quickly dissipates. It doesn't stick around long because this stuff is semi-lethal, at 10%. Great alcohol legs on the nectar. And oh, the nectar... I'm getting to you. Be patient. It's a virtue, you know.

That first ecstatic sip sends my taste buds into sensory bliss. Remember that time last year? Wait, you don't? Me either. But my taste buds do. I find a lot of pine and grapefruit in the foreground. And the honey resonates through out the entire flavor profile: beginning, middle, and end. It's the perfect balance to the copious additions of hops that make this beer damn near perfect. Oh, I apologize, Larry (as in Bell, founder of the brewery that produces this nectar). Perfect. I can't imagine that gods of ancient times enjoyed better quaffs than this. This is also a solidly structured beer, with the hops not overwhelming the malts, but they balance out soooooooo perfectly. Have I mentioned yet how perfect I think this beer is? Oh, and there's that alcohol bite, perfectly balanced with the honey again, just enough to give it a pleasant sticky mouthfeel. Hop-haters should not fear this; it's so perfectly balanced with the honey and the hops that it's neither too sweet nor too hop-forward. As if there were such a thing.

It's pure ecstasy with each sip. I should note that it should be served in a tulip or snifter glass, and I prefer it closer to room temperature than fridge temp. My former rep, Travis, will tell you that it's not for cellaring because the hops will die off soon. So get yourself a six-pack today, and enjoy every last one of 'em. And get another six-pack tomorrow. And another the day after that. And the day after that. Because it's that good. Seriously. Just don't blame me for the hangover.

5/5 caps. Did I mention perfection?


And this is Jasmine. Or Jazz, if you will. Perfect for a Bell's product, with their Jazz series. Seriously, she looks sublimely happy. Or should I say hoppy? She's a total sweetheart, one of our newer additions (she came to us with the help of another kitty friend of ours, Luna, soon after she escaped her prior home. Not that that's bad; her daddies were moving to South Carolina and couldn't take them. She found her way to us and has been a total doll baby ever since. Really, even her hiss is sweet, like a well-honeyed Hopslam).

Oh.... oh... Hopslam... There's a reason You leave us lingering for an entire year. My memories of you are as follows. First venture: Dia de Los VW Muertes. My VW had an issue with the clutch actuator, ergo, no go. I momented my way (yes, I created a word) into a parking lot. After wandering around whilst awaiting the arrival of my super mechanic (Dad, if you will), we stopped into Studio 35 for a drink. Bell's Hopslam, hmmmm, sounds tasty. WHAM. Not what I was expecting. Much better than expected from a brewery from that state up north. My initial thought- must obtain this again.

This venture came at least 3-5 fold last year. Jennie was living elsewhere. A place down the street from the most epic gas station ever. The Sunoco in Blacklick. we obtained (legally, I think.... I wanna say.... yeah, pretty sure) a couple, or better, six-packs while she was living there. Then came the big decision, getting a place together. I obtained, once again (still trying to remember how), a six-pack of this golden blessing from the Gods to bless and break in this new living arrangement of ours. We still have an empty bottle from that six-pack sitting in our collection.

Side note about Jennie's homage to this brew ("Ode to Hopslam"), It was written one year ago today... how weird... how bizarre... 

With that being said, this beer is like a celebration of good times and bad. A festival of dancing should be held in it's honor. Hopslam release should be one of the main Sabbats from here on out. People should be given the day off of work for this, in a day of reflection 'cause let's face it, Memorial Day has lost its meaning to most people and it's a national holiday. Do the math to see where I'm going with this...

Next up in the homage to subject of Felinus Meets Hopslamus:
Gia- the Hell Beast. The Monster that lives under your bed and strikes fear in the hearts of all that lay eyes upon her grace and beauty.  All feet be warned, none shall pass the bed skirt unharmed. Don't be fooled by her cute looks, she will steal the alphabet magnets from the fridge door.

So with that epic description from Jennie, how can I expand on this? Nose is amazing, as described. Once it warms up, the alcohol is a little more noticed in the nose, but note that it's just in the nose. The lacing on the glass (despite it not being served in a proper glass, but eh, it drinks the same, right?) is fantastic. Heavy lacing that's as thick and rich as the hop fields in Oregon.

The taste is mainly what keeps drawing me back to this. At $19.74 (after tax) a six-pack, I would laugh at the seller and tell him where to put said product, but knowing and loving this product, $19.74 is a bargain. Well, not really on the wallet, but it's worth every penny (can't resist... *knock knock knock* Penny). The taste is sheer divinity at it's finest. As Jennie stated, the honey is noticed throughout the tasting. Something I want to point out is; as hoppy as this magnificent libation is, the bitterness of the hops do not stand out like most IPAs or DIPAs. This is sheer flavor and aroma. And Sweet Raptor Jesus, the flavor. The human languages lack the capable sounds appropriate to perfectly describe the sheer depth and brilliance of this. Maybe our feline friends have the proper terms and words, but aren't letting on.... this is some sort of conspiracy between Hopslam and cats... I'm sure of it. But, I digress.

The alcohol of this is a kicker. And I mean it will kick you in whatever human reproductive part you have. You don't taste it, but out of nowhere, you're feeling the 10%. Then things start feeling better in life and you're fine with the fact that the amazing 4 cats you have attack your feet (well, more of just the one grey beast).... Oh, I appear to be rambling....

My only quarrel with this, is it's not readily available. It's limited distribution (as in you'll have to obtain this from a store that specializes in amazing beer and wine selections), and only around for a short time. Again, though, the short time is helpful with the hop shelf life.

5/5 caps


And last but not least of our feline friends: Mr. Dorian, the Grey. He appeared to Phil one day, and Phil gazed upon his presence and was stunned. Phil instantly knew this cat and he were to become best of friends. When Phil moved to Ohio with us, we, as well, were blessed by the sheer awesomeness of this grey beauty. Shield your eyes at first, but slowly take in the beauty that is Mr Dorian.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hinterland's Door County Cherry Wheat

Ah, Hinterland. A fast riser among my favorite breweries, I discovered them this past spring and summer, enjoying their Maple Bock, IPA, Cherry Wheat, and Luna Coffee Stout, all for cheap for a pint bottle. They are based out of Wisconsin, and I look forward to trying more of their brews. It weighs in at 5.4% ABV.

The head on this was pretty significant, as we poured it into our two pint glasses. It dissipated fairly quickly, though, and had good lacing. It was off-white in color, contrasting with the hazy orange of the beer itself. Let me also state before I taste this that cherry is not one of my favorite fruits, although I have fallen madly in love with Founder's Cerise. Since this is a wheat beer, I have no expectation that this is like Cerise... but then again, I've also had this beer before. And yes, beer snobs, I enjoy fruit beers thoroughly. Sorry to disappoint you. Or not... they're my taste buds, after all.

The nose on this brew is pure sour cherries, to me. Interesting and not repulsive at all. It has all the smoothness I would expect from a wheat beer, with a significant sour cherry note that doesn't overwhelm, but fully complements the bready malts and the moderate hop flavors. It's really good. Sam Adams, eat your heart out... Hinterland has done it way better than you have. I also get a little alcohol note in the aroma and foreground, but with a relatively light ABV, I find that surprising.

4/5 caps


I will note that this has an amazing cherry flavor. Not like a cough-medicine fake cherry flavor. More like going to an orchard and picking fresh cherries (but, like Jennie said, not overwhelming). It's a fantastic brew from a brewery that I know little about, history-wise. I should change this as we have yet to have a bad brew from them (future episode idea?).

4/5 caps


Agreed, Nathan... I have been afraid of many cherry beers because I find many cherry-flavored things to be medicinal tasting. Not beer. Cerise, Bell's Cherry Stout, North Peak's Darkangel, Sam Adams Cherry Wheat, and this... all great examples of quality northern cherries that taste like they're fresh-picked.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Revolution Brewing Co.: Anti-Hero IPA

You heard it here first: I'm predicting the Chicago beer scene to explode in 2013. Revolution Brewing is leading that, well, revolution. I'm madly in love with the packaging for this... the hophead general, the fist, the parachuting hops. There is nothing about this... wait for it... CAN that I don't love! I've had a few really good beers out of cans this year; it's a trend in the craft industry that I don't hate.

The color of the pour is a light amber, clear, and with an off-white head with moderate lacing and head retention. Revolution labels this as 6.5% ABV. The nose on this is pure Simcoe, which means pure happiness for me. The initial taste is a hop-forward punch to your hop junk. The middle gives off to me, at least, a little orangey, citrusy flavor, followed up by piney, grapefuity hops. This is beautifully balanced, medium-bodied, and all around lovely. I'm in hop heaven. THIS is birthday beer. Ironically, it has the least-metallic aftertaste of the last few beers we've had, and the only one since Yuengling in a can.

For those of you attending the Winter Beer Fest next weekend in Columbus, this brewery and beer will be there. Get some. It's worth whatever line you have to stand in.

4.75/5 caps


Pure. Awesome.

4.7678/5 caps

Mt. Carmel IPA

Mt. Carmel is out of Cincinnati, Ohio, and so far, I've generally enjoyed their brews. This is a variety I don't think I've tried. BeerAdvocate lists this as 7% ABV.

A medium orange color, with off-white head that is thin and lacy, this beer is neither hazy nor clear. That is meant to mess with you optimists. I pick up some pine in the nose, usually coming from the Centennial or Simcoe hop strains. I also get a little citrus fruit in there, almost a grapefruit scent on the nose. It's well-balanced, with the same notes coming through in the flavor. There's almost a pine resin note to the quaff that has me a little off. It's well-carbonated, fairly light-bodied in the mouthfeel. And damn, there's that metallic aftertaste again. But not as offensive as in the Patriot Pale Ale. I ate a couple of crackers before tasting this beer to cleanse my palate... Rosemary Triscuits, Official Palate Cleansers of Behind The Tap. With natural flavor and other natural flavor. True story; read the label.

Overall, this is a decent brew, brimming with mediocrity. I had hoped for more. It's not that much hoppier than the pale ales we've had so far tonight. If I were to base my opinion of southern Ohio breweries on tonight's offerings, I might be convinced that the Ohio River tastes like shit. Wait, it does... don't ask how I know that. But brewers, maybe you should treat your water before brewing. Just a thought.

3.25/5 caps


Wow, Jennie... Little bitter tonight (like 3 ounces of Simcoe added at 60 minutes to a 5 gallon batch of homebrew)? Please do note that Cinci does have Rivertown, which puts out great brews (their pumpkin ale is probably my favorite of the pumpkin beers, their Roebling is awesome, and Hop Bomber is a great slightly-hoppy brew).

Anywho- back to the review. This brew... yeah... Piney taste with weird metallic aftertaste. I know we're known as part of the Rust Belt, but does it have to taste like it with the metallic taste?

Nothing really more I can add to this.

3.3/5 caps


I have to also give mad props to Moerlein out of Cincinnati. They're making fantastic beers that don't taste like I just licked the rusted wheel well of a 1978 Cadillac. I also enjoy Rivertown; their Pumpkin was a huge hit at our house around Halloween, and the Roebling... just yum. But I've not been that impressed with what I've had from Mt. Carmel. They're not a bad brewery, by any means, but I haven't been blown away by anything I've had from them.


Portsmouth Brewing Company's Peerless Pale Ale

I think this is my first brew from Portsmouth Brewing Company. I'm a little stoked to see what this brewery from the Ohio River has to offer; let's just hope they condition the water from the river (if that's what they use).

The pour is a medium amber color, fairly clear, with an off-white head that is thin and doesn't stick around too long. In the nose, I pick up brown sugar, along with bready malts and moderate hops additions. As I take a solid drink of it, I find this to be a very interesting beer with many levels and notes. Brown sugar, slight tinniness, citrusy hops, again a taste of tinniness, and back to citrusy hops. It reminds me of Dogfish Head's Sahtea in its complexity alone. I agree with Nathan, there's a bit of almost clove in the aroma and middle taste.

The body of this is fairly thin, with a dry finish. I don't find the tinny notes as off-putting as I did in the Patriot Pale Ale (see prior post). All in all, I think I do actually pick up a taste of river water. But it's not offensive.

3.5/5 caps


I pick up some slight characteristics on the nose that reminds me of a hefe. Sort of spice-like, almost clove notes. I get the brown sugar tones in the taste, but I also pick up the spice-like in the taste, probably from the yeast strain they're using. Not a bad brew, I'd be interested in trying other beers from them, see if they have the same yeast (like Indigo Imp's brews all have an AMAZING yeast strain). I could see the yeast fitting perfectly with other styles, although it lends something interesting to this brew. This isn't your typical pale ale, with the slight tinge of hops and the California yeast strain, this is more complex and it's hard to put my finger on.

3.6/5 caps


RJ Rockers Patriot Pale Ale

RJ Rockers is a brewery out of Spartanburg, South Carolina, that is relatively new to the distribution channels in Ohio. BeerAdvocate puts the ABV at 6%. The label says it's heavily dosed with Challenger and Cascade hops. Nathan isn't a big fan of Cascade, whereas I don't mind that hop strain.

The beer pours a pale, hazy orange color, with an off-white head that is thin and doesn't stick around long. I get some bready malts and mild hops in the nose. It has a soft, round mouthfeel, a little fuller-bodied than I expected. The initial taste is again mild citrusy hops, a solid pale ale. The aftertaste, however, I find a little tinny and almost -- not quite -- skunky. There's also a sharp finish that I can't quite place. I'd chalk it up to perhaps an off batch, but most of the reviews on BeerAdvocate indicated similar findings.

All in all, I'm a little disappointed. It has several disparate, discrete parts that just don't jive well, in my book. I enjoy a good American pale ale, and the aftertaste on this is enough to turn me off. If I weren't sharing this 12-ounce beer, I'd be tempted to feed it to my garbage disposal.

2.5/5 caps


I get some earthy tones from the hops in the taste, not quite as Cascade-y (is that a word?) than I expected. Although the mouthfeel is weird. I get a lighter body, myself, with an almost stickiness to it. Definite tinny aftertaste, reminiscent of Phin and Matt's from Southern Tier (see previous posts about my opinion of that). Jennie, I'm sorry, I was expecting more out of this beer. At least we can say we tried it.

reluctant 2.5/5 caps


Nathan, I love you for picking out beers. We're pretty adventurous when it comes to beer, and every now and then, you can't have every beer be a winner. If we did, Keystone would taste a lot better. Which is what the aftertaste on this reminds me of.


Final side note from me- chugging the rest of this doesn't help or lessen the aftertaste.... It's lingering a bit more now, making me wonder if I drop the rating again....


Bell's Third Coast Old Ale

Heeeeeey, it's my birthday!!!!! And my wonderful Nathan brought home a mixed six-pack of mostly hoppy beers that we'll be sharing and reviewing on here tonight. This is a fantastic offering from Bell's and one of the beers of the fabled birthday sixer.

This is a beer that I prefer closer to room temperature, so it's now been sitting out in our glasses pretty much since Nathan got home. It's a fairly complex beer, and I can't wait to delve into it. Without further ado...

It pours a dark, clear amber color with a light caramel colored head. The nose is pure heaven. Oh wait, that's probably not technical enough for you beer geeks. There's a dried fruit aroma on the nose, almost raisins or cherries. There's also some significant malt aromas and... wait. Is that heaven? Yes, it is. Definitely heaven.  There is little head retention and moderate alcohol legs in this beer, which weighs in at a hefty 10.2% ABV.

This is Bell's barleywine. Yeah, a full six of these will knock you off your 4-inch heels. I'm picking up some Caramalts and dried fruit flavors, with a definite alcohol kick at the end. It's sweet on the nose and the finish, which I have come to expect from most decent or better barleywines. Seriously, a couple of sips in, and I'm feeling it. It has a very smooth and round mouthfeel, which the alcohol bite kicking in soon thereafter.

Third Coast Old Ale has quickly become one of my favorites from Bell's. As strong as Hopslam (it's almost here!), and so complex and interesting. Yum.

4.75/5 caps


Very well put, Jennie. The only thing I want to add is I also catch some alcohol notes in the nose. A beautiful example that despite being from the state up north.... um... I forget where I was going with this, just, damn, Bell's puts out some amazing brews. The only problem I have with this selection is the price. It's about $3.50 per single from decent beer stores (around $20 a six pack).



Yuengling Lager

This was Phil's (Jennie's dad) choice our last time refueling our refrigerator. Yuengling is the oldest continually operating brewery in the United States. Based out of Pennsylvania, they survived Prohibition by storing kegs of their brews in the hills around Philadelphia. Yuengling has been in Ohio for about a year and a half. I had the pleasure of having some prior to its distribution here, and not much has changed. I like the brewery and most of their brews. This is their flagship beer.

A light amber in color, the nose is a nice balance of hops and bready malts. Crisp and clear, it is a very easy-drinking beer. At 4.4% ABV, it is noticeably lacking the adjuncts that are in most American macro-brewed lagers. It's good... probably my favorite among the aforementioned category. I also notice a little more hop presence than in most American macro-lagers. Yay hops!

3.5/5 caps


This is a good beer, much better flavor and character than, as Jennie worded perfectly, most American macro-brewed lagers. I prefer their Lord Chesterfield ale, but their lager is something that I will order at a bar.

3.5/5 caps


Port Republic Lager

Port Republic Lager... there is a reason you're constantly $.99 for a 24 ounce can at Kroger (apparently it's brewed for Kroger stores).

Can was straight out of a fridge. The pour was super fizzy, the aroma was sweet, skunky, slight hint that I couldn't place.

The taste was very light, sweet, light mouth feel. Very little hop tones. Not really that good a beer, reminds me of a typical adjunct lager. Nothing spectacular about this at all, on par with A-B or Miller products (this is Genesee Brewing Co).

Not bad if you're wanting to play beer pong, but nothing to drink on a regular basis.

2/5 caps


Not much to add... just nothing spectacular about this beer. You can also buy it in 12-packs.

2/5 caps