Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lagunitas Lucky 13

A 8.65% ABV, 76.92 IBU red ale? Well hell, a supper hoppy red ale does work (like Knee Deep's McCarthy's Bane) so let's see how this sets against the palate. Before you ask, no, I'm not being parsimonious by taking the lead on the 2 posts done tonight (this and Stone's Levitation), Jennie has simply opted to continue painting before the paint dries. Yes I said parsimonious because I know what it means, and because I can still spell it without the help of spell check, I need to drink more.

This pours red, like garnet, with some off white head that fades quickly. The aroma has a lot happening. Citrus, pine, some earthiness, spice, grapefruit, some tropical fruits, something dank, caramel, and I know I'm missing some. Each sniff gives off different tones, so it's hard to describe everything. The flavor on the other hand, leaves me wanting more. This is just a little bland for what's in the nose and what's described on the bottle.

From the side of the bottle:
From the first day of the first mash of the first recipe in the first space to this oasis 13 years on the road; We have worked hard to walk in the footsteps of our hero brewers. The Esteemed brewer of California’s best Pale Ale, the Noble Brewer of the planet’s only legal Steam Beer, and Oregon’s Rebel Brewer from Newport. Thirteen years down the road, we have found our own voice as brewers but our admiration for the Great Ones has not dimmed one bit. If we walked well down the hero’s path ourselves, perhaps we too have been an inspiration for others. Beer is a Bronze Age business and we feel honored to have left our footprints on its path into history, at the same time leaving our flavors on your buds. Thanks for your trust over the years and we hope you enjoy this specially brewed Hi-Gravity Auburn offering. Beer Speaks. People Mumble!

The flavor has some caramel flavor that fades into almost an apple like flavor that leaves some sweetness, then it just drops off, like a lemming off a cliff. There is a medium mouthfeel and this drinks like a 'put on your big boy pants, you ain't in Kansas no more' sort of beer, but it just leaves me longing for more depth in the flavor department. The mouthfeel is medium and there's some sweetness and resin left over in the mouth.

Not the best selection from Lagunitas, not the best red ale I've had (really wanting some McCarthy's Bane right now, but that in no way shape or form affects my judgement of this brew).

3.5/5 caps


Dammit. Nathan had to go and bring up the category-killer, McCarthy's Bane, when we don't have any on hand. Sigh. Well, at least it's Wednesday, as I'm still going through withdrawals from "The Americans".

I find that the dank note has faded some since mine has warmed. Yes, I've been watching paint dry. I was due for a slow night after my child graduated from kindergarten today (I'm a very proud Peanut mommy!!!!). I also pick up the notes he mentioned in the nose. As I take a sip, I'm a little surprised at how sweet this is. And then yes, the flavor does just kind of die. It's kind of like eating something with ghost pepper in it, where the heat just fades away suddenly after torturing your tongue and singeing your nostrils for the past five minutes. Only this is much faster. It fades into oblivion, but then it kind of kicks back in with an earthy, caramel note, and long after you've swallowed your sip, you get hit with some piney hop bitterness, and that lingers on my tongue. After that, the resinous sweetness kicks back in. It's actually a rather interesting beer to me.

Maybe instead of watching the paint dry, I should start re-reading Anna Karenina. In Russian. Because I have it and because I can. Or maybe I should just finish my beer. Yeah, sounds like a great plan. It's been a roller-coaster of a day.

4.35/5 caps


Stone Levitation

Stone's Levitation Ale is a gold medal beer. 2007 Great American Beer Festival's winner in the American red/ amber category. Everything that we've had from Stone thus far has been mind blowing. So, with that being said, this has to be good, right?

Before I begin, Stone has an amazing array of caps. There are different quotes and different designs. This cap says "[Stone] has no interest in going mainstream if that means watering down the product." -Inc. Magazine

This is a surprisingly lighter selection at 4.4% ABV, 45 IBUs. This pours a deep, hazy amber, with some off white head that sticks around a bit. The aroma is.... wow, I'll see if I can capture all this. Citrus and caramel with tones of pine and spice. This smells damn good, much better than the Seagram's V.O. whiskey we've been drinking (in memory of a dear friend who recently passed), or the Sailor Jerry's rum when our friend would show up. I realize now that we consume a lot of alcoholic beverages, and I'm fine with that. The part I'm not fine with is that my fingers seem to be rambling when they should be working with the rest of my hand, picking this pint glass up so I can drink it. Damn fingers, what good are they anyways. There are plenty of different species in the animal kingdom that don't have fingers, and they survive. Ah, but they also don't have beer, touche fingers. So onto my fingers doing their damned job before I cut them off. So, first off, for being such a lighter beer, it has such flavor. Picture what you got in the nose, add some light roasted tones from the malt, and that's the front of the flavor. That melding awesomeness fades quickly and gives way to a lemony and grassy finish that lingers temporarily. The mouthfeel is light and this drinks really smooth.

My only quarrel with this is it's light. It's not a big quarrel, it's just a mind fuck for me. A beer this good should not have such a light mouthfeel. And now the 6 oz of mine are gone, so I turn this over to my counterpart who's working on an awesome painting.

4.6/5 caps


Now that the chill haze has worn off, let's see how this stacks up to the rest of Stone's offerings. I'm surprised that this is so session-able at 4.4%. I'm not going to complain; I like when breweries step outside their comfort zones a bit. Once he finally got around to the aroma and flavor, my partner in crime nailed the description of the beer.

I love that the back of the bottle goes into the etymology of the word "levitation" while subtly getting their digs in at Anheuser-Busch and Miller-Coors, reminding us that most great brews follow the Reinheitsgebot rules of water, yeast, barley, and hops. I think Levitation is a great name for this brew... it leaves me wondering what levitating forces are at work here, and my state of mind has certainly levitated since consuming this. Or at least elevated. Then again, I'm simultaneously painting, which also tends to help my state of mind.

Overall, this is much hoppier than I would expect from a session amber ale. And I'm certainly not going to complain about that. 

4.4/5 caps


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ithaca Flower Power

So, after a disappointment in this year's Lake Erie Monster, I still find myself craving, nay, NEEDING a good IPA. Maybe I've become spoiled on the IPAs I can't find anymore (Anti-Hero, Simtra, Enjoy By, Arctic Panzer Wolf), but regardless, I need HOPS! OH SWEET HOPSUS, WHAT HAVE I DONE TO ANGER YOU SO THAT YOU SHUN ME?! I even brought you a new follower in the form of Malty the Monkey! Is Trollie needing to appear more for your approval?!

Regardless, tonight's hop-venture brings us to Ithaca's Flower Power. I thought we've done a review on Ithaca before, but apparently not (going through our own personal records). Huh. So, clearly Ithaca Beer Co. is out of, you guessed it, Ithaca, NY.  They've been making beer since '97, and this one has the following awards:
2008- Silver Medal, Best Craft Beer in NY
2008- Final Four- National IPA Championship
2011- Final Four- National IPA Championship
2012- Final Four- National IPA Championship

So according to their website, this is 7.5% ABV, brewed with Simcoe, Chinook, Citra, Ahtanum, Centennial and dry hopped with Simcoe, Amarillo, Centennial. Yes, this might be the one to give me my fix for the time being.

The pour on this is a nice yellowy amber with some white head that sticks around. The aroma is grapefruit, pineapple,with hints of pine and some grass, with some honey thrown in for a little added mindfuck on the olfactory area. Oh yes, please Hopsus, do not let me down. The first sip AH! this might suffice. The flavor profile on this is something else. There's grapefruit, honey, pineapple... pretty much what you get in the nose, but with some added bitterness and bite. This drinks smooth and before I know it, half the pint glass is gone. Ok, I lied, 3/4 gone. The finish is a little dry with some resin. This is very smooth drinking. Shit. It's gone. There's 4 more left in the fridge though... With that I should turn it over to my female counterpart.

4.8/5 caps (only cause I think it could just a tad bit more bite, but this will quench my hop-quest until tomorrow)


I know the craving. You know, that feeling where you have to have whatever it is you need. Now. Right now. Not five minutes from now, but now. Mine usually tends toward the chocolate or, like today at about 6:00, generic beer. Any beer. These kids are driving me nuts, so let me have a beer before I snap.Earlier in the week it was Bell's Smitten. And an ongoing one that I am still seeking to squelch is for a Mars Bar. Goddamn, I can't find one to save my life. Last summer, it was an intense, required craving for Double Stuf Oreos. Not regular, skinny Oreos, not store brand, had to be Nabisco's demonic goodness. I get it, Nathan. I really do. And I still really appreciate you indulging my craving that night.

And before you ask, no, I'm not pregnant. I wouldn't be drinking beer if I were. I am a human, though, and sometimes cravings happen.

He described the beer quite well. Since mine has had some significant time to warm to room temperature, I am picking up a little more floral notes in the flavor (not as much the aroma), but it's a fine blend of piney, citrusy, and floral. It's not a beer that is so perfume-y I feel like I just walked into the makeup department at Macy's. The floral notes come out more on the back half of the tasting. It's very pleasant. It is a little more mild than I remember, but I'm ok with that.

Clearly, we'll be on a mission for Stone IPA, Bell's Two-Hearted, or some DIPA tomorrow. Wish us luck.

4.75/5 caps


Monday, May 20, 2013

Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster

We found ourselves craving a good IPA and Bell's Smitten tonight, so we ventured down to Wine & Beer Emporium, being close to our place and a fine little shop. Jennie found her Smitten fix (the last one), while I delve into the full array of selections they offer. After debating for 10 minutes or so, I ended up with a 4 pack of Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster. We ended up with that in bottle, as we forgot the growler at home. We plan on venturing back there soon for some other tasty selections (not to mention they're easily accessible even in drastic traffic).

So, enough with the part I'm sure most readers skip over (although, no idea, as I've not actually talked to the readers to see which parts they focus on), and onto the review. We've had this before in previous seasons, and there's a reason we keep going back to this. This is a 9.1% ABV, 72 IBU monster from the Cleveland area named after Lake Erie's version of Nessy (the Loch Ness Monster). This pours a golden amber with decent white head, perfectly clear with moderate looking carbonation. The aroma is faint, but piney with some Grapenuts sort of smell toward the back, nice and balanced aroma. The flavor is more malty than I'd expect from an Imperial IPA. There's some tropical fruit flavors up front (mango and pineapple), that lead to the Grapenuts sort of malt flavoring, then ending in a piney tone with some bitterness that lingers for a bit. Kind of disappointing when comparing this to the last two Imperial IPA releases from Great Lakes, but taking this as a solo release and not making comparisons, a decent IIPA. Light drinking, despite the 9.1% ABV, with the mouthfeel being sweet with a hint of resin stickiness. This lacks the hops that I personally love in my IPA, let alone what should be in an IIPA. Shit, my beer is gone. Huh, apparently it's a little too smooth drinking. Time to pass the torch to my flame in the household (No, I don't mean that in a sappy way, I mean that in a 'shit, she set the house on fire because she saw a spider' sort of way). Before I depart, and start painting, I would like to remind you to follow us on Facebook.

4.3/5 caps


Yes, I would totally burn down the house to kill a spider. I'm arachnophobic like that (and trust me when I tell you that is a complete understatement). I've learned to accept it, so should Nathan, don't you think? Onto happier topics... like beer! This beer! I love Lake Erie Monster! We actually used a clone of this brew to make our ShuteyePA, which was an IPA with lavender and chamomile. It was lovely, and I want to brew it again soon.

Nathan hit it on the head... who put juniper berries in my Grape-Nuts? Alternatively, who put Grape-Nuts in my juniper berries? That is precisely what this smells like. And his description of the flavor was spot-on, too. For some reason, I find this a little more mellow in the hop flavors than in years past. The lovely tropical fruits are there, and wait... is my palate just wrecked from the Smitten? Apparently not. I even cleansed my palate with a couple of Dill Triscuits, because those are my favorite cracker. Like ever. There's something completely lacking in the taste that was there in years prior, that certain je ne sais quoi that made this previously stellar. It's faintly there in the nose, but lacking completely in the taste. I think I have it... the aroma smells like ruby red grapefruit, which does not translate at all in the taste this year. And in the flavor, it's pretty much all pineapple. Don't get me wrong, I love pineapple, but I miss the ruby red notes in there. It had such a disctinctive flavor before, and it seems like maybe they used all the hops on Alchemy Hour and Rye Of The Tiger. Damn, I have Survivor stuck in my head again.

Sigh. I hate when seasonal beers are not as good as last year.

You can follow us on Twitter, too, if you don't already... I'm just more proficient at Facebook, and I publish and share a lot more on Facebook than Twitter. I miss the good old days of FB where you could push your post to Twitter. Apparently it doesn't work that way anymore.

4.3/5 caps


Bell's Oberon

You know it's summer when Oberon hits the shelves. Or at least, it's right around Mother's Day. Oberon, beauty of all things summer. Sunshine in a bottle. Gateway to craft beer, at least for me. And yes, of course I have the Oberon glass from which to enjoy it. It makes me happy.

It's been hotter than my hot flashes can handle here the last few days. Not that that has stopped us before; Nathan buys me a mini-keg of the lovely stuff every year for my birthday in January (see picture below of the Oberon Corner in our house. I want to repaint that ugly rose to the Oberon sun). It's a nice midwinter reminder than sunshine and warmer days will be here before we know it. Alas, it's currently mid-May, and it's been in the mid- to upper-80s the last few days, with all the humidity to make it just uncomfortable enough not to hang outside too long. In other words, perfect Oberon weather. You see, Oberon is not only a delightful character in the Shakespeare classic "A Midsummer Night's Dream," it's also a lovely pale wheat ale from our brilliant brewers to the north. Michigan summers can be just as miserably hot and humid as the rest of the Midwest, and this is an ale designed to assuage summer's miseries. 

Pouring a medium golden color, clear with some chill haze, with a moderate white head, the aroma is very mild, reminiscent of mandarin oranges, wheat (surprisingly), and some Triscuit-y malts. See what I did there? Once you sip it, you know you need to be sitting outside in the sunshine, even if it's after midnight. There are citrusy flavors that come through initially, and some wheat, and some very vague spices that make me think of peppercorns. And there it is... that lovely peachy/apricot/light stone fruit flavor that somehow comes through in this that just makes me sigh, "Ahhhhh. Summer." The mouthfeel is interestingly creamy, and yet decently carbonated. This is my harbinger of the warmer months.

Let me wax profane for a little longer. This is the first American craft beer that I fell head over heels in love with. Sure, I'd dappled with the Pete's Wicked Ale and the Sam Adams Boston Lager, but this, this is what beer should taste like (at least to my novice palate). This is also what drew me to Bell's Brewery and made me want to peek inside Larry's head, just enough to nudge his old homebrew-day memories. Summer being my favorite season, I long felt that I needed a har-beer-ger. Let it also be known that I much prefer this out of a bottle than on tap or even poured into my beautiful matching pint glass. I think the fruit esters come out more in the bottle, and they get lost upon aeration.

Oh god, I've been hanging out with my dad too long. His puns have taken over. Time to sign this over to Nathan.

4.8/5 caps


I'm sleepy... So, Jennie's review is stunningly amazing. How do I add anything to this aside from the classic: That's what she said.

This beer is fantastic and it signifies summer. I won't go into long article, as I'm going off 4 hours of sleep and have to work tomorrow... woo hoo. Jennie's described this to a T though, that's all you need to know.

4.7/5 caps


Sunday, May 19, 2013

North Coast/Deschutes/Rogue Class of '88 Barley Wine

North Coast/Deschutes/Rogue Class of '88 Barley Wine. Possibly the longest name for a beer I've seen. Why Class of '88? Well, you see, there was a time in the 80's where music was different. This music spurred people to dream and have aspirations again, well, that and a severe fanatical devotion to the Ol' Gipper, the only US President who could claim 'I don't recall saying that' and get away with it. Well, with these life changing factors put in place, multiple breweries opened in 1988, North Coast, Deschutes, Rogue, Goose Island, and Great Lakes are among those breweries. From what I gather, Deschutes is doing collaborations with all the aforementioned breweries to celebrate their 25 years in business.  North Coast/Deschutes/Rogue brewing a Barley Wine, Deschutes/Great Lakes brewing an Imperial Smoked Porter, and Deschutes/Goose Island brewing a Belgian Strong Golden Ale. It will be interesting to see if we can obtain (more of get distributed in Ohio) these upcoming releases. Please note- it also seems like each brewery is releasing their own (like Saison Du Buff from Dogfish, Victory and Stone, which we'll have to pick up soon). This is the North Coast release.

So with that being said, enough with the mumbo jumbo, I know what you're all here for, the beer review. This pours a crystal clear, deep amber with decent amount of head (2 fingers worth in the wine glass). While typing the first paragraph, and up until this present point, the head has shrunk a little. This confounds me as when I think Barley Wine style- as I think deep and dark with little head (ala Flying Dog Horn Dog). Phil's already finished his portion of the bottle- thought it was very good and asking if we had more. Unfortunately, no, no we do not. Although the fact that you're wanting more before I even give a review on the aroma means that THIS BEER HAS PHIL'S STAMP OF APPROVAL! So, without further ado, the aroma. This has a piney and citrus front with dark fruit backing. Interesting... Onto the taste now. Oh... Oh my... This is unlike any Barley wine I've had. It's more along the likings of a Strong Ale. This is hoppy up front on the first sip- with piney and citrus tones, following up with caramel and some sweetness. This finishes dry, but has the right amount of carbonation to keep this interesting. There isn't as much booziness as I'd expect from a 10% Barley Wine, there's a slight hint. But you have to search for it. This melds in a perfect harmony in my mouth to where I don't want to stop drinking it. I'm not a huge fan of the Barley Wine style in general, as most are a little too heavy mouthfeel and boozy for my liking. This is, again, like a Strong Ale. Lighter bodied than your typical BW. Although can definitely feel the alcohol content, half way through the wine glass worth. That nice, warm fuzzy feeling seems to be taking hold. But then Phil has to go and kill it by some sort of music award program where a bunch of pop-stars with a twang in their voice (aka, modern country) are butchering "Born on the Bayou". What the fuck. Seriously- why can't it be music from the 80's right now to celebrate these breweries and their 25 years of music. I am finding "Bizarre Love Triangle" on the my mp3 player and cranking it through headphones as soon as I tag Jennie in. Which is now.

4.8/5 caps


I've never been so glad to hear the news at very loud decibels. The aural assault I've just endured is atrocious. I'm so ready for this glass of beer it's not even funny. Let's not even get into the weekend I've had; it's definitely grown-up time. And now that I know that it has not only Phil's stamp of approval but also the olfactory approval of three cats chasing a junebug, I'm in. I mean, I learned that I can chug a PBR in the space of one awful never-before-was country song, even if John Fogerty was onstage. I'm ready for a good beer.

When I think barleywine, the two that come to mind are Flying Dog's Horn Dog and Weyerbacher's Blithering Idiot. I've heard good things about Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot, but I don't recall having that. The two I've had are good; nay, both are excellent. So let's see how this stacks up. The aroma is exactly as Nathan described. Ive had a couple of whiffs, and this is hoppier than any barleywine I've smelled. I'm getting more and more excited. I don't know if I can find words to describe how good this is. The roller coaster that is happening in my mouth makes me blissfully ignore the events leading up to this review. It tastes like a barleywine to me, but it's so much lighter-bodied and hoppier, I'm left wanting more. It starts out definitely barleywine, with boozy stone fruit esters, then the hops carry you through the middle, and it finishes dry and boozy. Mine has warmed considerably more than Nathan's. It reminds me of a wonderfully complex pinot noir, if you're also a wine fan... it's light-bodied, dry yet fruity, and just boozy enough to make me forget the dreadful weekend I've had. Nathan's description was very accurate, but I'm picking up some different nuances now that it's warmed.

If your inner beer geek is wondering what the difference is between a barleywine and an old ale (or just what the heck is a barleywine?!), this article should elucidate most questions you have. I'm not picking up as much malty characteristics as BJCP (AKA The Overlords Of Beer Geeks; c'mon, they have tests and stuff) suggests, but the hop and booze presence is certainly indicative of the American barleywine style. I found interesting the difference between the American barleywine and the imperial IPA styles; this isn't noticeably heavier, but I do find it to contain more fruit esters than any imperial IPA. I also loved the quote from Michael Jackson (OBG -- Original Beer Geek -- not the pop star, although sadly both have moved on from this world); it's currently 80 degrees in our house, yet the beer is still significantly delicious.

4.9/5 caps


Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest 2013

Continuing on our American Craft Beer Week celebration, we dive, pint glass deep, into another Sierra Nevada selection. This time is the Southern Hemisphere Harvest (from here on out in my portion of the review, shall be referred to as SHH). The SHH is a 'Fresh Hop' ale (for description and shortened debate of 'fresh hop' vs 'wet hop', see our previous post about Sierra Nevada's Estate) with hops from New Zealand. It utilizes, according to Sierra's website, Southern Cross hops as bittering and Pacifica, Motueka, and Southern Cross as finishing hops. Another Dave Navarro brew (6/7/67 being his birthday, this beer is 6.7% ABV and 67 IBU), this makes me wonder about how many brews out there have my birthday between the IBUs and ABV. But then I start thinking at I think too much, and the problem of focusing becomes more prevalent.

This beer pours a beautiful amber color with moderate white head that doesn't stick around. The aroma is faint, but has earthy, citrus, and floral tones to it, pretty well balanced between the three. The flavor is much different than the Estate. This has a lighter body and lighter maltiness to it, giving way to the hops. The hops, however, aren't that overwhelming. There's a slight herbal tea with hints of citrus flavor up front that fades to some earthiness and bitterness.The backend leaves some slight resiny tone about it, not overwhelming, though.

This is good, definitely worth checking out for $4.99 a bomber. Worth checking out to expand your horizons on the world of hops (as these are non-American hops that most people around here are familiar with).

4.5/5 caps


Nathan's description was pretty right on. And I don't know about you, but after the last review, I'm afraid of what happens in his head. Thankfully he didn't take us on a guided tour this time, other than his unabashed man-crush on Dave Navarro. Understandable.... he's totally tappable. As is Nathan. But it's late on Saturday night/Sunday morning... let's let things happen as they may.

My beer is now about room temperature, which is now about 105 degrees, or so it seems. Must be having a hot flash. We've returned the upstairs neighbor's daughter to her, and my charge tonight is assuredly sleeping soundly. The malts come out more at room temperature, but it's still about half the body-weight as the Estate. Earthy tones are still prevalent, and the citrus and pine notes are much more subtle at this late hour. The body is much thinner than Estate. On the very back end, there are some lovely pine and grapefruit notes, leaving a resinous dissonance dancing happily in my mouth.  Funny aside, if you should, say, for example, belch from the carbonation, it's a whole lot hoppier.

Agreed, it's definitely worth checking out. I like that it's not in-your-face hops, and different hop strains (and flavors) from the usual west coast-east coast battles. Or discussions. Because we beer lovers tend to be a lot more mellow and loving and hippie/hoppy than Tupac and Biggie could have dreamed. On that note, I think it's time to delve into some lovely dreams of hop farms and malting processes. Or jump around to some The Presidents Of The United States of America. One of these things is going to happen. Just not sure the order.



Sierra Nevada Estate 2012

I've been babysitting all day... first the neighbor's kids, then little girl who lives upstairs from us. I'm a little burned out on the mom/babysitter role, and trust me, it's time for some good craft beer! I get two kids again in the morning, so a beer (or five!) is definitely in order.

It just dawned on us that we haven't reviewed a lot of Sierra Nevada: the Torpedo, the Celebration, and ill-fated (at least in my eyes) collaboration with Dogfish Head, Rhizing Bines. I still shudder when I think of that and my throat just clogged a little with Calvin Klein perfume. This is Estate by Sierra Nevada, an ale that is brewed with hops and barley grown on the brewery property. There seems to be some disparity between wet-hop and fresh-hop definitions. My understanding was that wet-hopped merely meant that the hops weren't freeze-dried, as most of us homebrewers are accustomed to using. Fresh-hopped meant that the hops were harvested and then made into wort within 24 hours. An article in "All About Beer" magazine seems to indicate that the two are basically interchangeable, and uses Estate as an example of fresh-hopping. Sierra Nevada's website states that wet hops are straight from the field within 24 hours, fresh hops are dried and used in under a week. I'm confused. The bleach must have seeped through my hair follicles via osmosis again.

So, let's get to the beer and see how this is. Let it also be noted that this was brewed once, in 2012, and was a one-time release. It's been a good six months since then, so I would expect some of the hop characteristics to have mellowed. We'll see. It pours a medium amber color with some chill haze and a decent sized off-white head. In the aroma I pick up a lot of orange, some mango or passionfruit, notes of biscuity malt, with just a hint of pine and grapefruit. Taking a sip, this isn't quite a hoppy as I expected, but it's really good. The malt structure really comes through and the hop notes are earthier, which can be expected when drinking a fresh- or wet-hopped ale. It tastes much as the aroma goes, with really earthy, yet not offensive, nuances throughout the taste. Long after the sip is gone, the earthy tones take on a tangible form of fresh-mown grass. It's quite lovely. It has a fairly large body for being an IPA, even with the healthy hop additions. It finished dry, even though the beer itself is moderately sweet from the malts.

All in all, I wish we had this closer to the time it was brewed, but aging it for 6-7 months hasn't denigrated the flavor too much. It's still tasty, and I love that they grew the ingredients for this brew on Sierra Nevada's brew-estate.

4.6/5 caps


Very well put, female partner in crime. This was discovered, and we had to try it. It was thoroughly dipped in wax around the cap and top of the bottle. No idea if this actually does anything aside from look classy (apparently it helps with oxidation problems when cellaring a brew), not many manufacturers we can obtain in Ohio do the waxing. Speaking of waxing,  my back is getting hairy again... hmm.. awkward...

Jennie nailed the coloring, the carbonation was fantastic. It poured with tons of head, Jennie's glass almost running over with head. The aroma to me (after warming up some), citrus, mango, spice, earthy and piney in a full frontal assault on the nostrils.  The flavor is interesting. There is what you got in the nose toward the front, then almost an black tea-esque flavor that lingers with some bitterness of the hops. Very interesting as this uses hops and grain that were grown at Sierra's brewery. According to Sierra's website- bittering hops are Cascade and Chinook, finishing hops are Cascade, Chinook, and Citra. 6.7% ABV, 67 IBU. Huh... 6767- breaks down to 6/7/67- Dave Navarro's birthday. I wonder if he's had this. I seem to be getting lost in my own head. It's a scary place, no one should try and delve in there. Maybe someday I'll create a short animated feature about the things that go on in my head- it pretty much starts off with a background of fire with a dwarf wearing a leotard, holding a pitchfork, free-style dancing to Thunder Kiss '65, while flying penguins, smoking cigarettes, shower the dwarf with old rusty metal buckets full of fire ants. And that's just the first layer. Analyze that, my dear Siggy Freud. Yes, I have issues, but this beer does not.

If you can find a bottle, do it, get it fast. It's worth the experience to say you've had a one off brew from a big name in the craft scene without losing a limb (it's inexpensive at $7.99 a bomber).

4.65/5 caps


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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Three Floyds Arctic Panzer Wolf

Yet another Three Floyds selection. I understand why their beer sells faster than it hits the shelf.

This is the Arctic Panzer Wolf. Fierce, insane eyes, 9% ABV, 100 IBUs. Insane amount of IBUs to match the insane eyes. The aroma is sheer assault of hops on the nose as soon as the bottle was opened. The pour is golden with a tinge of orange. Solid off-white head that sticks around. The aroma is an onslaught of amazingness. There's citrus, tropical fruit, some pine, hints of grass and caramel. Very hop forward on the nose. The longing for the taste is just too much to bear. OH SWEET HOPSUS!!!!!! This is... hang on, I need another sip. Such a hop forward flavor. Tons of flavor. There's grapefruit, there's some citrus, there's tropical (mango-esque) fruit, there's some hints of floral, some biscuity malt and a hint of sweetness toward the back with some citrus rind bitterness, think grapefruit zest, with the finish. Slight resiny mouthfeel. Slightly carbonated to make this the perfect 'I only drink on the 7 Holidays. Tonight I'm drinking because it's Thursday' sort of beer.

With each sip, the flavors change to where there's now a peach or apricot sort of flavor added into the array of hop onslaught. This wolf is lovely, and as wolves are related to dogs, I feel as though I can thoroughly enjoy this without feeling like I'm cheating on my Doggies.

Hopsus Be Praised!!!

5/5 caps


It's been nearly an hour since we started this review and I had my first sip and "Oh holy Hopsus" moment. A friend stopped over and, as friends do, we got to chatting and carousing and enjoyed a couple of "everyday" beers. Right before she got here, we poured this. At fridge temp, my nose enjoyed the onslaught of grapefruit aromas that were prevalent. Now that it's warmed a bit, it's precisely as Nathan described, with the grapefruit being much more subtle. Oh shizzle, this is amazing. I love the grapefruit zest note in here. Wait, "love" isn't a strong enough word.

If you're a hophead, try to find some of this if you can. If you enjoy grapefruit, you will probably love this. If you enjoy neither, save that bottle for us. Please. Pretty please. Pretty please with hops on top.

5/5 caps


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Revolution Brewing Cross of Gold

In keeping with the blonde theme tonight, we hereby present Revolution Brewing's Cross of Gold. And in keeping with the blonde theme on my head, I'm totally confused by this. I'm twirling my hair and writing in Valleyspeak in my head. Like, totally. The label calls it a golden ale on one part (pictured), another part of the label calls it an English-style summer ale, and BeerAdvocate categorizes it as an English-style pale ale, and RateBeer lists it as a golden ale/blonde ale. Not that I think that BeerAdvocate and RateBeer are 100% right all the time; I've seen them make errors a time or two. I just don't need any help in the blonde department... I can be pretty ditzy, and I'm pretty sure the platinum blonde sank in through my follicles to kill off even more brain cells than I needed to lose. I'm all for pushing the envelope with brewing, but when you come up with four different categories for one beer -- two by the brewer even! -- I'm left twirling my hair and muttering to myself, "Totally radical." The good news is that this beer is listed at 5% ABV, so my remaining brain cells aren't at too much risk.

This pours a pale, hazy, straw color with a white head. I probably should have rinsed out the glasses after the last beer, because the head was thick on the bottom of my glass, and streaked all down the side of Nathan's, leaving that eerie solid foam in the bottom. Alas, I didn't rinse them, and this frothed over quite a bit. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have been that fizzy otherwise. The head also quickly dissipated, furthering my suspicions. The nose on this is lovely: a light, crisp aroma of vague lemony citrus and faint Cascade hops, lending some pine and citrus notes to the nose. A sip reveals a more complex beer: there's lemon, there's a fair amount of hops to make it citrusy and piney and just a hint bitter, and there's a just enough malt backbone and honey underpinnings. This is deeeeelish. Like, totally tubular on my tastebuds. It's very light and refreshing, and another strong candidate for hot summer nights on a porch or in front of a campfire. It's well carbonated, tickling my throat all the way down, and finishes nicely dry.

My case for Revolution Brewing is strong: I've yet to have a bad beer from them. In fact, I might have to Ro Sham Bo Nathan for the last Anti-Hero in the fridge, which has become a regular in our rotation. At under $5 for the bomber of Cross of Gold, this may be another regular, as far as I'm concerned. It's wonderful, light, refreshing, and yep, totally gnarly. The cads at Revolution have brewed yet another Betty of a beer.

4.65/5 caps


Wow... um... Time for an English translation of all the above 'this is a good ass beer.' To expand on the goodness, I will venture, nay, delve into what I like to call 'drinking beer.' I know, I know, it's a crazy term that will never pickup, but someday, in some lonely bar with 2 other patrons and a bartender who has passed their prime a decade ago, you'll hear someone saying that they're 'drinking beer' and you'll think back to this blog. You'll wonder what the hell happened to us, then you'll preform a google (or whatever search engine has become the go-to) search for us, then get sidetracked by all the random pornographic adverts. At some point you'll realize you should delete your history and cookies, as that's why all the porn is popping up. Then you'll forget what the hell you were searching for and go back to your 'drinking beer.'

And with that, we come to another Revolution Brewing selection. This pours a nice straw color that reminds me of perfect summertime brews, slightly hazy with little white head. I would like to point out that despite Jennie being a bartender, she sucks at pouring growlers and bombers. Suck it woman, I said it. Shit, where was I? Oh yes. The aroma, after warming up (decided to be a gentleman and give the feminine-type lead on both reviews tonight as I had lead on both Flying Dogs from last night). The aroma is lemon, pine, citrus, and some slight hints of fresh cut grass and very faint hints of some sweetness. Huh, interesting. I pictured this as more a Kolsch style with it being called a 'golden ale', but it smells more like a Pale Ale. But now, onto the best part, which you should pay money for, me 'drinking beer.' I say you should pay money for this, that way I can quit my job and make money off drinking beer, it's a flaw proof plan, really, and at some point, I may go into the multi-step plan for making this happen. But, I seem to be getting off topic. The taste. The initial lemon, citrus and pine poke fades and gives way to some slight bitterness. That bitterness tapers off into lemon-esque flavor that is faint and rides the peak of the wave until the flavor fades. The mouthfeel is nice and light, like a Kolsch, with decent carbonation, making it a nice refreshing brew, especially for the upcoming hellishly hot and humid months of what little Summertime we get in Ohio. Yesterday morning, around the freezing point and snowfall in places, tomorrow is high 80s (85-88) throughout most of the state. These are in degrees fahrenheit, as the US has decided to make it confusing with converting degrees, on top of all weights and measurements, with the rest of the world who is one Metric. Metric makes sense, to a degree, but with the US Standard system pounded in my head my entire life, the conversion boggles me from time to time. Much like this beer. I think of a golden ale to be like Tire Bite, but this is more like All-Day IPA.

Good, and great for the price.

4.7/5 caps


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

New Albanian Brewing Naughty Girl

This is a new brewery to us, and a new brew to Ohio... and the rest of the world. It was brewed once in collaboration with the Louisville Brew Store and De Struise Brouwers. The New Albanian Brewing Company is based out of New Albany, Indiana, and getting a fair amount of recognition in the craft beer world. I would guess our New Albany neighbors to our west are somewhere down along the Kentucky border. I was taken in with the name, and the fact that it's a blonde IPA. It tickles the seedy underpinnings of my soul. It brings a mischievous twinkle to my eye and I feel even more self-righteous drinking it since I recently went platinum blonde.

These fine collaborators were supposed to brew a Belgian IPA... until the brewers arrived and instead came up with this blonde IPA. Or so the bottle says. Either way, it has IPA in the name, so I'm down. Let's see how amazing this is.

It pours a medium golden color, slightly hazy, with a decent amount of white head. In the nose I pick up some banana and mango, and hints of a Belgian yeast strain. The aroma is pretty faint, though. Taking a sip, I pick up flavors of orange, mango, peppercorn, and the unmistakable Belgian yeast, which is not overwhelming, dryness from the hops, and then a late hit of banana esters. It feels pretty smooth going down, and finishes very dry.

I don't know that I'd classify it as an IPA, as the hop characteristics are so subtle they get kind of lost in the esters of the yeast. But they are noticeable in that they really dry out the finish, and they lend themselves to the citrus and fruity aromas and flavors. Thankfully, the yeast isn't overpowering. It's relatively mild, as is this beer overall. It's an interesting beer, and I'd suggest it if you want to expand your horizons. And if you can still find some.... this was selling pretty fast last week.

4.35/5 caps


Wow, how is one supposed to follow that? Well, let's try. I like the label, as it's a tattooed mermaid in a beer. How can you go wrong with that?

This pours a quasi-hazy golden orange color with decent amount of thick white head. This has had time to sit and warm up, and yet the head has not dissipated much. The aroma is interesting. It's spice, some citrus, banana, and something tropical, like mango. Definite tones of a Belgian yeast strain, but more like New Belgium's Belgo than a hefe strain. The flavor is, well, not quite as hoppy as I'd thought for the 69 IBUs this claims to have. It's a thick mouthfeel, like a smoothie, that gives way to a multitude of different flavors. This coaster of flavors starts off with orange, fading to mango, which gives way to some earthy tones from the hops, with some peppercorn popping in at different times with each sip. It finishes dry, and I now realize that I'm basically repeating and reiterating Jennie's review, because she described it to a T.

Definitely worth checking out, it's an experience, especially since it was brewed once, but don't expect a Belgian IPA like Belgo or Raging Bitch, expect more like a full flavored farmhouse with a Guinness-like mouthfeel.

4.2/5 caps


Flying Dog Single Hop Citra (2013)

Yes, we've reviewed this brew before (actually, it was our first review here). But, that was last year's keg only release. This year, they've released it in bottles. So this is the Single Hop Citra 2013 release. It's kind of cool to look back at out first review, and then roughly 150 reviews later, how much we've grown in both our comfort level in our writing ability and our descriptions. But enough sentimental BS, you're here for the beer. And as this is getting late (11:50pm) and I'm sleep deprived, I'll try to keep this shortened, but giving good points.

This pours a beautiful golden orange color, with small amount of white head that doesn't stick around. The aroma is citrus and something like pineapple, there's some slight tones of sweetness. It's faint, but it's there. The taste is nothing but hops. Oh, Hopsus be praised! Piney and citrusy swirls that leave a nice resiny feel to the finish. At first it's crisp and clean with decent carbonation to make it refreshing, then the resin mouthfeel takes hold and starts puckering your mouth a bit. This is what an Imperial IPA should be. There are also some tones of tropical fruit to blend with the lemon, grapefruit and piney notes of the hops. Yeah, Citra. If only I could have this year round.

5/5 caps


Wait just a minute here. Did we just make it through a Flying Dog review from Nathan without a single Hunter S. Thompson reference? And why, dear Hopsus, why should it be on me to provide it???  I'm not the fanboy here... I appreciate The Good Doctor with all his Gonzoisms, but I'm not nearly the fanboy that my partner in crime is. With that, I offer this, from The Great Shark Hunt:
Myths and legends die hard in America. We love them for the extra dimension they provide, the illusion of near-infinite possibility to erase the narrow confines of most men's reality. Weird heroes and mould-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of 'the rat race' is not yet final.
That pretty accurately sums up this beer for me. It's mythical, it's legendary (or at least it should be), and your ability to obtain it is a near-infinite impossibility. And it proves to me, at least, why Flying Dog is still a stalwart in the rat race that is the craft beer industry in America today. Although I could tell you where there remain two six-packs of this nectar of Hopsus. But shall I? Or should I save that little nugget of knowledge for when I'm alone some afternoon, wandering up and down Indianola Ave. while Nathan toils his weekday away?

I can't decide. So let's talk about some beer. This wonderful beer in particular. I actually pick up a great malt backbone in here... along with some additional sweetness, almost like brown sugar or maybe some Belgian candi sugar. These perfectly complement the hop characteristics that have me head over 6" platform heels in love with this series from those rascals in Frederick, MD. I don't think it's overly resinous, as opposed to our friend at Savor Market and Nathan. Our love of the citra hop is well documented, and Nathan has done much justice to it above. I just find it a tad more cloying and malty than he does, it would seem. Oh! And there is the fabled wisp of lychee that this hop strain is noted for. Yuuuuuummmmmmm. I don't find this overly puckering or overly hoppy. It's a great demonstration of what this hop strain has to offer us mere peons.

I am really hoping they send some of their Single Hop Sorachi Ace this direction. Hint, hint: Erin and Flying Dog crew. I love pineapple in my beer. And now I'm off to dream about brewing a pineapple IPA. Huh.

4.98/5 caps, because their Simcoe of this series is still one of my all-time favorite brews, and this is just shy of that.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Flying Dog Big Black Wit

Flying Dog's Brewhouse Rarities series. Supposed to be draft-only (except 3 of them that will be available in 750ml bottles as well), and only along the mid-Atlantic areas. Somehow, it has found it's way to the Midwest, Columbus, Ohio specifically. Oh, don't dare get me wrong, I'm so ecstatic that I'm sporting some wood.... The wood is Trollie, you see, as he's made of wood, but at the same time, he's also my drinking companion, more so than Jennie.

According to Flying Dog's website, this has the following:
7% ABV, 18 IBU,  Perle, Cascade and Galaxy hops. Pilsner, Raw Wheat, Midnight Wheat, Torrified Wheat and Flaked Oats as the specialty malts.

So, with Trollie by my side, I put on my Gonzo-vision and dive balls deep into this pint glass, taking your through this train wreck I like to call 'my beer review.' Please note, there are not many reviews on this, so I feel like the Great Gonzo in the Sky is smiling down upon me.

This pours black and opaque, like soy sauce, with a small amount of off-white head. In the aroma, there are notes of your typical wit, coriander and spice. But there are also tones of roasty notes and tones of citrus. These meld together in a way that should be a felony, but then again, look at all the things that are felonies that are fun. Hell, I've committed multiple felonies, sometimes multiple at one, just never been caught, and that's the thrill of it all. Knowing somewhere in the back of your twisted mind, that no normal, sane person would attempt such a feat, due to fear of persecution and consequences. But, I, as Robert Frost said, I took the one less traveled by. And that's how this aroma sneaks into your olfactory senses with a twisted grip, astounding your mind with all the memories it's trying to recall, placing scents with places, people, and beers. But enough about that; onto the real part that people look for. How does this taste, you sorry bastard? Well, It's not that easy to answer. There are hints of caramel up front, that slowly give way to some more whole grain-sort of bready tones, somewhere combining with some light roasted tones. That bizarre trio is met by some piney and citrusy flavors from the hops that go on a ravaging spree across your taste buds when they meet up with good old coriander and spice, but mostly more toward the back end of this smooth drinking beauty. The mouthfeel is medium with, surprisingly little carbonation. I say surprising, as when our friend was pouring this into the growler, the brew was rather foamy, to where she said "I think I lost 3 growlers of head pouring this one growler."

All in all, a very interesting brew. If you have the odd notion to try something new, and you have the opportunity, try this. To quote the good Dr. Hunter S. Thompson: "There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die."

4.7/5 caps


Happy American Craft Beer Week! Thus begins our week-long celebration of all things American craft beer.

OK, that's an adequate Thompson quote, but not the one I expected, my dear Gonzo-wannabe. The one I expected, after your felonious rant above, is as follows:

If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people -- including me -- would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.

The truth of the Big Black Wit should perhaps remain under wraps; I can't lie, I'm too pretty for prison. So is Nathan. And indeed, this beer is much to weird to live, and too rare to die. Huh. Now I have Avenged Sevenfold's "Bat Country" stuck in my head.

The pour is as Nathan described. The nose gives some citrus and bready malts and farmhouse yeast strain. Uh oh. I don't really care for Flying Dog's farmhouse yeast strain. I don't mind it in Raging Bitch, but I don't care for it in, say, Wildeman or In-Heat Wheat. Just my personal opinion and tastebuds. Well, let's see if it's more Raging Bitch or if that bitch is in heat.

This beer is downright weird. I taste plenty of roasty black malts, and then it's definitely a wit beer, with hints of coriander and, wait. I definitely prefer this colder, at fridge temp. This glass has warmed up while Nathan was typing away. The farmhouse notes are more Woody Creek White than In-Heat Wheat (that's doable), and have really come to the forefront since it's warmed. When it was cold, it was easy to discern the roasty notes and the wheat, and the farmhouse dank was much less pronounced. Now it's kind of a hot mess. And not in a good way. It kind of tastes like they blended Hoegaarden and Guinness in my glass.

It's definitely not my favorite from Flying Dog. But since this beer will only be brewed once, apparently it's not too rare to die. Suck on that, Dr. Gonzo.

4.05/5 caps, because it's warmed too much. I might give it a 4.1 if it were cold.



Sunday, May 12, 2013

Revolution Brewing Company Rosa

It's Mother's Day. Hopefully you have done something nice for your mom, because remember, you're the reason she drinks. It's been a lovely day here... Nathan and Dad and Peanut have all spoiled me rotten, despite the rampant exhaustion running through the family. One Mother's Day tradition in our house is to drink the first Oberon of the year... check. Maybe I should have started with that review, but was ready to change it up a bit after that first beer. I love the pink on the label, and I have yet to have a beer from Revolution Brewing that I don't thoroughly enjoy. This is a hibiscus ale, brewed with 12 pounds of hibiscus flowers and a touch of orange peel. After the fiasco that was Magic Hat's Hicu (at least in my opinion), I'm ready to redeem hibiscus as a valid brew ingredient. In theory, at least, this should be a beer that all moms love.

This pours a lovely pink grapefruit color with a pale pink head. It's almost too pretty to drink, much like Founder's Cerise. Hey, I'm a girl, I'm allowed to like pink beers! Almost, I said. I really want to taste this, though, so taste we shall. The nose on this is very mild, and it takes a couple of sniffs to detect faint malt, citrus, and a very vague floral presence. Huh, this is interesting. It almost drinks more like a lager than an ale. It starts off a little bready, then gives way to the orange peel and vague aromas of hibiscus, and it finishes dry with just the faintest hint of sweetness. I love that it's not like drinking perfume (see our reviews on Hicu and Rhizing Bines to recall how much I dislike my beer tasting like perfume). It's well-carbonated, and as mentioned, drinks more like a lager than an ale.

I'm enjoying this. It's subtle, unlike my platinum blonde hair. I'd love to have this on a hot summer day... I'm not much for mowing the lawn, but this would be great on the porch on a scorching summer night. I love that Revolution has nailed pretty much every style I've tried by them. And don't get me started on Anti-Hero... there's also a six-pack of that in the fridge. Yum.

Awwww, Nathan is painting a piece of art for me. I'm blushing the color of this beer. It's really pretty so far... kind of like this beer.

4.265/5 caps. Feeling kinda arbitrary.


Before we review this, I would like to point out, previously, on Jennie's Bday, we reviewed Anti-Hero, after having another one tonight, I don't think I rated it as high as it should be. It's a damn good IPA to where Hopsus should be praised.

Tonight's selection from Revolution Brewing brings us a hibiscus ale, Rosa. We picked this up the same day Savor got it in (along with sharing a couple cans). The pour is, as Jennie put, like a ruby red grapefruit. The nose is more prevalent after warming up some, but as my muse described. After warming up, there are more notes of hibiscus that are forward, slightly tart for a second, giving way to some bready tones and some slight orange. There are some floral tones in here as well that are faint throughout, but slowly raising toward the back end. Finishes dry with some hints of sweetness. I think the mouthfeel is rather smooth, well-carbonated. This is a great beer for the summer time, whether it's mowing, enjoying the night sky, enjoying good company, ah hell, who am I kidding? This is a great anything outdoor in the summertime beer.

A nice, mellow summertime brew, that hopefully has renewed Jennie's faith in hibiscus being in beer (yes. yes, we know- it doesn't fall into the guidelines of the Purity Law of 1516).

4.35/5 caps (tabs? As this is available in cans?)


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Three Floyds Rabbid Rabbit

Three Floyds is a well loved brewery. All their beers sell out as soon as they are put on shelves. We've reviewed two others (zombie dust and jinx proof) by them so far, with yet another selection sitting on the shelf, staring at me in anticipation of sliding down my soon-to-be-happy throat, lashing my taste buds with each exciting sip.With each beer I have from them, Three Floyds grows in my heart to where I will chase down released by them (much like we do with Founders, Flying Dog, Bells and most recently Knee Deep).

So, What is Rabbid Rabbit? It is a mutated giant green rabbit attacking a gnome wearing a jester hat. As I am a gnome sympathizer, I have an issue with this. Despite this, I, as a beer lover, can look past the label and look at the pint glass. This pours a hazy golden color, and it should as it's a saison. There is a small amount of white head that sits perfectly on top, much like the jester hat did on the gnome before being ferociously attacked by this green monstrosity that's on the bottle. Damn. This makes me the rabbit, as I will be annihilating this brew, sip by sip.

The aroma is earthy with some fresh dough-like tendencies to it. Some slight citrus notes that are taken-over by the previously mentioned attributes. And now for the best part- the tasting. This is nice and light, with come citrus, pepper, and hints of herbs to it. The more you sip, the more the peppery tones come out. There's some sweetness about it as well, but nowhere near cloyingly sweet. No, my friend, the sweetness adds just the right touch. The mouthfeel is a bit creamy, with some stickiness that dries out quickly. Light carbonation to add to the complexity of this brew.

We ended up purchasing this twice in one night from Palmer's. Our first bottle ended up going to a friend at Savor Market (as she wasn't going to be off work in time to get a bottle), the second bottle is this one. Yes, we are cool people like that who like to share good beer with good people. But at the same time, our bar hopping has turned into beer market hopping. Oh well, beer market hopping gives you the opportunity to get great beers and meet great people, actually remember their names, and make lasting impacts without dancing on a bar table while singing karaoke.

We've not reviewed many saisons, but this is good. Will be hunting down some more of this when it's available.

4.8/5 caps


Oh, how the mighty have fallen... Those were the words out of my mouth as we climbed out of the car at Savor tonight, having already been to Palmer's for said other Three Floyds' offering. From dancing on tables while singing karaoke, to doing the Indianola Ave. rare-beer market crawl. And to think, this is now what makes us (or at least me) happiest on a Friday night. Sigh. And it's Mother's Day weekend, so I feel a little guilty bitching about the travails of motherhood.

Ooooh. Nathan described this beer very well. Somewhere towards the back of the first sip I got hit with a sack of oranges. On the tongue, not upside the head. Thank goodness. Although I'd probably deserve it. My, this is pretty fandamntastic... I'm in love with the entire beer. They use a lovely yeast strain, and there's chamomile in here to smooth it out, and the black pepper kick is oh-so-tasty. And the black pepper lingers on the tongue, tickling long after the beer has slid down my throat. I can't really add much more, as Nathan's description was spot-on.

I've only had one other beer with black pepper in it, and I liked it. The saison works really well with black pepper in it, even though it's not overly farmhouse-y. I'm fine with that, as sometimes that farmhouse funk can be a little off-putting to me, and I don't know how it would go with the peppery note here.

I have to agree, Three Floyds does some amazing stuff. Their cult following is well-deserved. I'm really enjoying this beer, and look forward to the next one I try from them.

4.8/5 caps


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA

This is the final Crooked Tree from the sampler pack from Dark Horse Brew Company... good old regular Crooked Tree, one of my favorite brews from this brewery. I'm in beer geek heaven tonight. We wandered Clintonville, hunting a rare release (no luck,...yet) and coming up with many, many more good brews. Is it sad that my pub crawls have turned into craft beer store crawls along Indianola Ave? I'm perfectly fine with that, actually. I think we sufficiently redeemed Dark Horse with the Plead the 5th review last night (seriously, that one bottle made up for the other three in this sampler), but hey, we also saved the best for last from this sampler.

This pours a medium orange color with a moderate white head and squee! it's unfiltered, meaning it's hazy to the point of being almost opaque, with some light sediment floating in it. Please, save your triple-filtering for the crappy macro-produced American piss water. The aroma isn't overwhelming, but smells of oranges and vague other citrus fruits, along with bready malts. The flavor, though, is citrusy with a solid earthy presence, finishing with some caramel and lightly sweet notes. As it warms, I pick up some hints of freshly mown grass and grapefruit. This is a little more dank than I recall, but I don't find it unappealing. It's very well-balanced, with the malts coming through, and it's moderately carbonated yet smooth... not quite sticky, not quite velvety, but rather well balanced.

This is one of Dark Horse's more readily available and popular year-round brews. If you can get our hands on some Double Crooked Tree, by all means, please do -- it's even better than this. And this is pretty damn good. My personal opinion is that even anti-hop people will probably like this. The antithesis of last night, tonight is our night to get to the IPA's in the fridge before the hops stale. Boom.

4.5/5 caps


So, I showered, yes I like to do that from time to time (roughly once a fortnight or so, give or take a decade). Yeah, indoor plumbing is awesome... Regardless, while showering, this brew has had time to warm up.

The color is a hazy amber orange color, almost a home brew sort of hue. The white head has stuck around from pre-shower til now. The aroma is orange, grapefruit, bread and aftershave.... hmm... Maybe I shouldn't have used aftershave while having something this close to my nose. Live and learn, eh? Or is it live and let die? Damn you Paul McCartney! But I digress. This has an amazing aroma that comes out more when warmed up a bit. I finally get to quench my freshly showered thirst. The first sip is not as hoppy as I expect out of an IPA, There's fresh grass and citrus, both faint, in the front, with a biscuity maltiness about it in the middle, and ending on a slightly bitterness, also faint. Balanced, yes, overly hoppy, no. The mouthfeel is smooth, with light stickiness, but not a lingering or overpowering stickiness. Side note, the lacing on the glass is beautiful. Do an online search for 'lacewood' and compare the wood grain with the lacing on this glass...

Not one of my all time favorite IPAs (I like the aggressively bitter and super hopped varieties), but this is a damn good beer that will probably get non-IPA drinkers to enjoy an IPA.

The only quarrel I have has nothing to do with this beer, but more of the fact that the website is having "issues" uploading the picture, and finally after almost an hour or trying (yes, that's how long it roughly takes to review a beer thoroughly between the distractions and finding the proper words to describe this), the picture has uploaded.

4.4/5 caps


Stone Espresso Imperial Russian Stout

Onto the second half of Epic Rare Stout Night, this one brought to us by our friends-to-be at Stone Brewing. Sorry, my inner psychotic fangirl is starting to take over. Greg Stone, I will meet you someday, hopefully when we're filming. This is Stone's Espresso Imperial Russian Stout, part of their Odd Year Release series, brewed once, and in two years, they'll do something equally awesome. Weighing in at 11% ABV, it should be safe to assume that no other alcohol will be required tonight. This came in a bomber, so there should be no fighting over the last drop in the bottle. That just happened in our kitchen. Nathan lost. He is currently pouting.

This pours deep black (is "Blackened" by Metallica stuck in your head yet??? Why not?! Go get your copy of "...And Justice For All" cued up and press play already!) with a moderate khaki-colored head. The nose is mostly coffee and chocolate, with an overall very mild aroma for such a big beer. I couldn't wait any longer... I just had to try a sip. Oh holy hell, this is amazing. It's a veritable roller coaster on my tongue of everything good in a stout, and yet it's so different from anything else I've had, just because it seems a bit out of order... but I like that. It starts off with espresso, then it gets boozy, with almost a bourbon flavor and some dark stone fruit in the middle, and then some very silky chocolate flavors come in, then the espresso sneaks back in just to remind you it's an espresso stout. And somewhere toward the end, I get the faintest hint of vanilla. Just to kick you in the dick. Just a little. It's a little chewy in the mouth after starting off silky smooth, but nothing offensive. I mean, it's a Russian Imperial Stout; I expect a little chewiness.

Stone has continued to impress me... I have yet to have a beer that I'm not thoroughly impressed with. Hence the fangirl. They're sneaking up on my list. It's funny, after we obtained this, Nathan and I got into a heavy discussion of beer economics. Their bombers are 22 ounces and usually $8.99. For some reason, we agree that's a lot easier to stomach than buying a six-pack at $11.99. Even though you're getting more bang for your beer buck when you buy by the six-pack. And I'd like to thank Stone for keeping it reasonable for the bombers, especially... they are a little more expensive than most breweries for their six-packs (by about a dollar), but that's doable. And their bombers are even more fairly priced. It kills me to see a good beer for $20 and up for a bomber. I understand the rare releases that cost a little more, but there is also supply and demand, and I'm a cost-conscious beer geek/fangirl. End rant.

See you soon, Greg.

5/5 caps

-Signed, your fastest-growing fangirl. Um, I mean Jennie.

Hey fangirl, you're not cost-conscious, as you're spending my ill-gotten money. Piss off with your last sip our of the bottle. All I have to say to you is Kia Soul ad. It's in your head now, and the only way to get it out is a hollow-point at point blank range. No, I'm not bitter at all that you took the last sip out of the bottle, no, no it's fine. I'll sit over there in the chair and drink Stroh's while you're taunting me and drinking good beer. No, it's fine. I guess I'll just have to summon the powers of Hopsus to smite thee. Alright, Great Smiter, get to smiting her!.... hmmm... Nothing's happening. I think Hopsus is busy, and Cthulhu is usually busy on Monday nights....  Oh well, I guess I'll put on my big boy panties (nothing but banana hammocks for nights like this) and review some beer.

This is made out of Unobtainium. We were lucky enough to score 2 bottles of this (other is a gift for our good friend), but yet, I still feel an indescribable guilt that I screwed someone out of this by getting 2 bottles. But then I think, oh yeah, I have beer, and I tuck all that guilt down and drink until I have no feelings.

This pours a dark black, completely void of light, much like what will happen to Jennie when Cthulhu and Hopsus reign terror upon her. There is a khaki colored head, much like the khakis I will wear to the Hopsus Altar tomorrow to praise him and make Simcoe rain on the Midwest.

Now, before I delve further into this investigative report into the world of craft beer taste testing, I will note that this has had time to warm up while I was sulking and plotting my own vendetta against my female counter part (it'll probably be something like a lame 'that's what she said' sort of joke, and I'll be fine). So, after having time to warm up, the nose on this is... sexy... It's coffee, chocolate, some roasted malt tones and some hints of vanilla and booziness. Now, finally, after Jennie crushed my entire existence by taking the last sip out of the bottle, I get to enjoy the flavor that I've built myself up to. Oh... Oh my... This is what Leonardo da Vinci was thinking about when he painted the Mona Lisa (well, I don't know if that's true, but I'll just assume it is). This is good. Espresso, chocolate, roasted malts, ending on espresso. I'm assuming this has lost the boozy flavor that White Devil picked up, as this has warmed up. This is smooth drinking, a shit-ton less in the richness department compared to the Plead the 5th we just reviewed. This has the mouthfeel like a cup of coffee with cream. That slight bitterness of the coffee puckering your mouth a bit, but yet, leaving a pleasant, otherwise orgasmic sensation of that 'I gotta do shit today' feeling of every morning. This is that sweet release we all look for. Why isn't this flowing out of the water fountain at work?!?!?! Come on, my company had $2.4 billion in sales worldwide last year, I think we can replace the shitty Columbus tap water with something epic like this that will improve worker moral and bring an overall sense of pride to everyone.

I seem to be getting a little distracted by dreaming about this flowing out of a water fountain.... Hmm.. Brilliant idea though. I have to figure a way to utilize this in real life, and not just in my perfect fantasy world where Jennie doesn't take the last sip out of the bottle.

5/5 caps


Monday, May 6, 2013

Dark Horse Plead The 5th Imperial Stout

This completes our 5 stouts from Dark Horse. The Plead The 5th is hard to come by around here, and judging by online ratings, well worth it. As you can tell, Trollie will be assisting me in this review. This is part one of two beer reviews on what we're (well, at least I'm) deeming Epic Rare Stout Night.

This is an Imperial Stout, ranking in at 11% ABV that pours a dark, opaque used motor oil color with a coffee colored head. The nose is interesting- as each time I smell it, I catch different hints of things.  Chocolate, almost a cherry tone, some roasted tones, alcohol, some roasted tones. The taste however, gives way to a roller coaster of Imperial Stout bliss. Bitter coffee, chocolate, a hint of fruit (again, almost cherry), finishing with some slightly sweet caramel tones. The mouthfeel is rich, but yet smooth as hell, almost creamy. There is a warmth that comes about this as it slides happily down your throat. This is a warming sensation more like a shot of rum than a beer. Hmm... Rum... Hmm... Beer... This is what I think of when I think Imperial Stout.

The thing that saddens me is this is the only bottle we were able the obtain, so I have to share this with 'She-Who-Has-Lady-Parts'... Or do I? I think I'll try one of those 'Hey! What's that?!' sort of attacks and snatch the beer from her (hehe, I said 'snatch'). Well, It didn't work, she ignored me, as she's working on artwork.

Oh well, it was worth a shot. Speaking of worth a shot, even if you're only able to try a shot of this beer, DO IT! And, side note, it's hard to type out a review when there's a large grey tabby who's trying to bobbing and weaving on your lap, trying to be the center point of your attention. Sorry, cat. I love you, but you're not going to distract me from this re.... oh shit... I'm out. This becomes a major issue as I have to wait for Jennie to type up her review before continuing on with Epic Rare Stout Night. Fuck, this means onto the cheap American adjunct lager til the continuation.

5/5 caps


I'm just hoping my fingers don't become glued to the keyboard. I'd give you a sneak peak, but it's a piece for at least one of our blog readers. And 'Chelle, if Dad doesn't make it Saturday, it's because I killed him because he's trying out every box in the house next to the canvas I'm working on. Not the blank canvases; no, that would make too much sense. Sigh, ground, and center. Patricide really isn't on my agenda tonight.

Now that that's off the programme, let's see if this beer is really all it's hyped up to... Damn, dunked my nose in the glass. And then I was overtaken by aliens, because this aroma is too good to come from this world. As it's warmed while Nathan was typing his part, I'm picking up so much more than when it was fresh from the fridge. At refrigerator temp, it's a whole lot of coffee in the nose. Now it's equal parts coffee, chocolate, and dark fruit, with a hint of the alcohol peeking through. By the way, ever since we poured the glasses, I've had Metallica's "Blackened" in my head... because it pours that dark. Now, let's take a sip. Sweet Raptor Jesus, I've become a stout fan. This hophead has been saaaaaaaved, praise Hopsus! It's sweet to begin with, almost like raw cane sugar, then waves of coffee, chocolate, toffee, and dark fruit waft over my tongue, and then, bam! One sip and I'm no longer able to drive! Nathan described it really well.

It's really perfect on this cool-ish evening we're having here in Ohio. I've really enjoyed the stout series from Dark Horse... now if only they'd sell those in sampler twelve-packs. My last question is this: Why is the rum always gone???

5/5 caps