Sunday, June 30, 2013

Stone RuinTen

Got the kitties high off fresh organic catnip? Check. Kid in bed? Check. Classic Alt music station going? Check. Painting station going? Check. Good beer flowing? Fucking check.

So, to be fair, we had a sampling of this Friday at Aficionado's in Polaris area. This was fantastic and I couldn't wait to review this thoroughly. Well, Saturday was a long day at work followed by more work around the house and shopping, so beer reviews wasn't even a thought in my mind. Which brings us to now. To this exact sentence. Holy shit, here we are. The present. Unfortunately, the flux capacitor in my DeLorean gave out, so we have to drink this in the present and not the past or future. Carpe noctem.

The pour on this is a gorgeous rich amber with a small amount of stark white head that slightly lingers. The aroma on this is worthy of a sacrifice to The all mighty, Hopsus. Hopsus be with you. The nose is nothing but hops; tropical fruit up front with some grapefruit and orange, with some earthy tones to add to this Homage to Hopsus. Closest I can find is 100 IBUs and 10.6% ABV. So let's delve into the flavor profile head first like Greg Louganis on a diving board at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

The initial sip was so good I took off my hat and laughed about the Greg Louganis comment. What you got in the nose is what you taste. The citrus comes out more than the tropical, though. There is a sweetness noted after the initial hop onslaught. The sweetness is accompanied by a caramel-like flavor. That sweetness fades away into oblivion while an orange zest-like bitterness sweeps subtly over the palate, dominating eventually in a manner much like Sherman's March. The more I drink, and the more this warms up, the more the malt flavors play into the profile. The alcohol is felt in the after affects, but not in the actual drinking. This is smooth drinking with a medium mouthfeel. There really isn't a resiny effect on the mouth, like I'd expect from the aroma. This is just smooth.

5/5 caps


Smooth, like Greg Louganis's shaved body before a diving meet? Come on, love, you were three during the Seoul Olympics. Whereas I was.... well, being born, according to your math. Somehow, I actually recall the Seoul Olympics, though. They showed Korea had a fun, light-hearted side. Or something like that. Damn, now I'm craving some kim chee.

This has warmed considerably since we started the review, as it's approximately 100 degrees in here and has been a little bit since I played the kitties some Jon Lajoie to accompany their catnip, because yes, they're "High as F*ck". The chill haze has long since disappeared. But the taste is very similar to what Nathan described, although I'm picking up on some of the tropical fruits. Mango and passionfruit are in play on my tongue, then get quickly swept away by the orange bitterness that Nathan mentioned.

We attended Comfest today, which is an abbreviation for Community Festival, and is a weekend of debauchery in Columbus. It's basically a hippie-fest, where the women go topless and paint their breasts, men wear skirts, everyone loves their mankind, and a half million of your closest friends jam out to some great local music and drink some local beer. There's a little bit of everything sold in the vendor booths, including some locally grown dank catnip. Hence why the cats are loving life and hearing in colors right now. This beer was the perfect cap to that experience, as at the tasting Friday, I had noted that it was a little dank, in a really good way.

5/5 caps


Friday, June 28, 2013

Bridgeport India Pale Ale

This is yet another brew we picked up on the much-ballyhooed road trip to Peoria. I'm nursing what may well be the worst hangover in history, so it should prove interesting. Nathan had the brilliant idea to attend a beer tasting earlier, and while the beers tasted amazing, they also made me a little woozy. Hopefully the pizza we had for dinner will continue to counteract my gin-soaked haze.

BridgePort Brewing Company is based in Portland, Oregon, in what may just well be America's craft beer mecca. Well, besides the highly underrated Columbus, Ohio, but that's a rant for a different day. This clocks in at 5.5% ABV. Let's see how is stands up to yesterday's overindulgence of gin. I noticed as we were pouring this that the bottle reminds me of Dundee's labels.

It pours a medium orange color, with plenty of haze and a small but tight off-white head. The aroma is lovely, with notes of bready malts, citrus, and a little pine sneaking in. Ugh, pine. That reminds me of gin. Any other day, it would be a welcome note. Not today. No, sir. Taking a sip, there are notes of mango, citrus, and damn, there's the pine, followed by freshly-mown grass and a lovely dry finish that almost tastes of grape must or champagne. It's an interesting IPA, to be certain. I find the malt notes come out more in the nose than in the taste itself. Somewhere after the sip is gone, there's a hint of black peppercorns that make an appearance.

This is the first beer I've had from BridgePort. I'd be happy to be find more of this and have it as a regular in my fridge.

On a completely unrelated note, my dad got into our stash of unobtainium while we were at the beer tasting. No, he couldn't feel free to help himself to the beers in the back that there are duplicates of and that are readily available in Ohio. He had to go for the Greenbush Brewing Company Sunspot, a hefeweizen. While he took a potty break, I totally sneaked a sip. Not enough to do a full review on, but enough to get a feel for the beer. It was a solid hefeweizen, but it had a lot of the notes of Belgian yeast that I don't prefer. So I'll let that one slide. I suppose. Note, this is the second Friday in a row that he's helped himself to the stash of unobtainium. Last week was because he couldn't wait the fifteen minutes while I ran to the beer store. We're gonna have to start hiding the good stuff.

4.7/5 caps


After drinking a couple Hudy 14K (as Burger is hard to find, for some reason), I'm primed for something Hoppy. This has been a long month of pulling double shifts and working Saturdays, tomorrow not breaking the cycle. Happier things, BEER.

Note: I work close to the AB brewery in town and occasionally I can catch a whiff of hops. This doesn't help with my daily cravings of hops. Other note: I think I should stock up on hop candy and just suck on a piece at work when my hop cravings get intense.

So, as Jennie mentioned, this pours a hazy orange. I just noticed, as my fingers are lazily typing, that if you forget the 'o' in orange, you get range. Huh. Things that you never notice over 27 years of a dry and listless life. But back to the review.  The aroma is a citrus burst with mild backing tones of floral and bready malts. Huh. The flavor is mango and citrus heavy with some sweetness of the malts. Nice and balanced, not bitter in the least bit. It gives a great dry, clean finish to lend to the medium mouthfeel. There is a reason this has an 87 at BeerAdvocate and a 93 at RateBeer.

One of those smooth IPAs that you wish you had more of. Sigh.

4.7/5 caps


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Capital Brewery Mutiny IPA

This is one of the beers we picked up during our hell trip to Illinois a couple weeks ago. Capital Brewery is based out of Madison, Wisconsin, and it's one you can't get in Ohio. So na na na boo boo. At least my dad didn't drink this one: he killed the Big Sky IPA last week because he couldn't wait the 15 minutes for me to get back with some everyday beer. His justification? It was in a can. I was debating whether to be pissed or whether to educate him on the wonders of craft beer in cans. I've finally calmed down enough that I might be able to have that conversation now, five days later. I've also since been stocking the fridge in a more timely fashion. Sigh. I sniffed the can when he was done.

This is not our first encounter with Capital Brewery. On a prior trip to Illinois, I fell in love with their Hop Cream. Nathan wasn't as enthused over that beer, but we couldn't find some on this trip for him to revisit. I'm a little stoked. We've both been craving hops, so we're rather optimistic about this.

Mutiny IPA pours a partly cloudy medium amber color with a moderate white head that sticks around for a bit. The aroma on this is fantastic. Pine and grapefruit are rather prevalent, with a hint of caramel present as well. Taking a sip, my mouth is happy. It's just as it smells, with an underpinning of the caramel sweetness from the lovely malt backbone. The pine and grapefruit float over the top, it seems. It's moderately carbonated, tickling my throat, and finishes fairly dry.

It's good enough that it makes me want to consider moving back to Illinois, where I can get this more readily.

4.65/5 caps


The reason I did not care for (at the time, it might have changed since) the Hop Cream was the mouthfeel. It was too Guinness-like for my personal palate.

So, after 3 1/2 solid weeks of working double shifts (and a Saturday) with sheer sleep deprivation, my body is near the shut down point. 4 hours of sleep a night is not enough for one to survive off of for so long. During this psychosis today, I had a multiple sense experience from memory. The vision was a pint glass filled with a good IPA, the taste and smell were a big grapefruit and citrus combination. The bad things about this sensory overload/spirit walk, is it was roughly 11am, and I've been CRAVING hops since. No, I don't need alcohol to survive or get through my day, it was the craving for an IPA, much like a pregnant woman has cravings for chocolate.

So with that being said, I continue onto this review. As she-with-paint-on-her-glasses stated, this pours an amber color, although I'd say more of a lighter amber.The head has somewhat stuck around throughout her section of the review and my zoning out (while trying to think {ouch} of the proper term for sensory overload). The aroma is citrus, floral, perfume, and caramel; blending in a harmonious bliss that this tongue has longed for (I haven't had an IPA in a couple weeks). The flavor is interesting. There's an initial bite of faint citrus that melds and eventually gives way to a earthy and floral combination with hints of caramel aiding to the profile, ending on some bitterness that lingers slightly. Not quite as hoppy as I'd like, but still good. The mouthfeel is rather creamy with just the right amount of carbonation.

This is a 6.2% ABV, 70 IBU brew, but does not seem like 70 IBUs, as it has a decent malt backbone to lend to the hops.

4.5/5 caps


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Two Brothers Outlaw

We did some crawling along Indianola tonight in search of good beer. We scored a couple, and missed out on one, but we decided it was a growler kind of night. If you haven't been to Savor Growl (at the corner of Weber and Indianola), they have 60 different taps from which you can take 64 ounces or so of fresh draft beer home (that's almost a six-pack's worth of volume). It's a pretty fucking awesome concept.

I love that growlers have hit hard in Columbus this year.

When we arrived home, I learned of James Gandolfini passing. Not only does "The Sopranos" still rank among my favorite television shows, but he's such a great, recognizable actor. He's been in seemingly everything. One of my favorite roles of his is the film adaptation of Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are. So tonight, Tony Soprano, Wild Thing Carol, CIA director in Zero Dark Thirty and so many other roles, we raise a toast to you. Thank you for entertaining us for so many years.

It's also National Martini Day. My next glass from the growler will be served in a martini glass. Who knew?  Mock me if you will for my glass of choice, but martinis are really good. I could go for, well, several after today.
Speaking of beer and a growler, let's get back to this. We settled on Two Brothers Outlaw, which is an IPA from a great brewery out of Illinois. We first encountered this last summer in a can. It was wonderful. Hopefully it's just as good on tap. It pours a medium amber color with a smallish white head that doesn't stick around. The aroma is faint. Really faint. Like I'm wondering if my nose is shot from allergies and dulled because I've already had a pint of this. It's a tad lemony, I suppose, but that's about all I'm getting from the martini glass. The taste, however, is much better. It starts out almost with a hint of brown sugar, then almost immediately fades to grapefruit and then to lemon. The brown sugar note underpins all of the citrus. Long after the taste has eased down your throat, there's a note of pine that comes through. It's a solid IPA... not quite as good as I recalled, but still quite tasty.

And there's the problem with drinking beer from a martini glass: it disappears quickly and requires frequent refills.

Back to the beer. There's not much more to add. It's well carbonated and fairly bubbly on the tongue.

With that, I'll turn it over to my esteemed partner-in-crime and let him tell you more. I'm going to let my ADD pick between watching a very crazy hockey game and completing a painting that was due, well, today. I'll probably do both.

4.55/5 caps


Well, after entering my second pint of this (and a Burger Classic or two), and playing Words With Friends and The Simpsons Tapped Out, while Jennie decided to take over an hour on this review/fiddling around on Facebook, the font for an art project, and random links about James Gandolfini, I've had time to ponder this beer more and more with each slow sip.

This is room temp now, as the growler has sat out on the counter for roughly 2 hours now. The color is how she described, a medium amber. There's not much head that's left now, as it dissipates quickly, but from memory, it's a gorgeous white that sits perfectly on top of this elixir of Hopsus. And this cat better leave my vintage acoustic alone before I whip her around by her tail (NOTE: I would never harm an animal. Especially not a cat, and especially not MY cat, and especially not MY shoulder cat). But I seem to be getting side tracked as she is contemplating climbing it to get onto the shelves of the corner hutch. I need to get back on track somehow. Summon my inner hop. YYYUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMMM. Okay, so after a little meditation, I am now focused to where only the threat of the dreaded breaking the seal can stop me. Damn it... Why am I focusing on that now...

After a short bathroom break, I continue on with this review. The aroma of this is faint, as She-Who-Drags-Her-Feet mentioned, so faint to where I cannot pick up notes of really anything. The flavor makes up for the lack of aroma. Caramel tones up front with a nice chaser of grapefruit with some bitter citrus zest. The bitter zest and grapefruit do battle of epic proportions on your taste buds, each having the upper hand, but falling shortly after to the other. Meanwhile, each one is growing weaker as the battle continues, until the flavor fades away and there is no clear winner. 60 IBUs, 6.3% ABV, medium body, smooth mouthfeel with some resiny tones toward the finish.  I think it's slightly better in cans, but at the same point, still a damn good IPA. No idea on the hop strains, as Two Brother's website is rather vague. The Blackhawks have won to tie up the series in an epic game four ending in OT 6-5.

4.6/5 caps


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rogue Santa's Private Reserve


Okay, that out of the way, let's continue on our trek of bringing you humorous and informative reviews on beer (mostly craft, but also broke beers like Olde English, Burger, and Stroh's). By the way, speaking of Burger beer, why is it so damned hard to find? Meijer has a spot for it on the shelves, but never stock it, Kroger has a spot, never stocked, Savor Market carries it, and hopefully it's not sold out. I would like to take this time to publicly raise my personal rating for Burger to 3.5/5 caps (when previously it was rated at 3.3/5 caps). But I seem to be rambling again.

Onto this beer.

Now, why are we reviewing a wintertime seasonal selection in the 90 degree heat of June? Because we haven't reviewed this yet. My first experience with this came in the form of a mixed 6 pack from my brother-from-another-mother as a birthday gift. I recall, from a drunken sleep deprived memory from November, that this wasn't your typical winter brew- that it didn't have the cinnamon and spices that seem to be typically added to winter/Christmas ales. Apparently, this memory was correct as this brew follows the German Purity Law of 1516. Hops, malted grain, water and yeast. Nothing else.

This pours a rich darker amber color, with a small amount of off-white head that dissipates quickly. The aroma is earthy, herbal, malty with some hints of orange and apricot. The flavor is a very earthy and herbal tea like with hints of some spice (clove?). There's not much of a malt tone, just slight hints of biscuit and caramel that hit fast and fade faster. This ends with an earthy tone with a slight bitterness that fades slowly. There are some hints of spice in here, but not powerful, just enough to add to the concoction that is this hoppy red ale. This has a lighter mouthfeel and drinks faster than you'd think. I cannot find a properly documented ABV on this, but the IBUs, according to Rogue's website, is 65.

Worth checking out to entice your taste buds when the colder weather hits, or if you have a bottle around in hot weather, this is equally enjoyable.

4.3/5 caps


Hockey is cold. It's played on ice, it lasts throughout the winter season, and the arena is usually pretty chilly to preserve the playing surface. I think this fits, even though it's still above 80 degrees after midnight in June. Sigh. Ohio. I'm still bitter about missing most of the audio of the game, which was placed on a split screen with the regional radar. We're now nearing the end of the second overtime (and if you aren't familiar with playoff NHL hockey, they play 20-minute periods until someone scores a goal). So these gents have been on the ice for, as of now, almost 100 minutes. It's pretty fucking insane, and one more reason that I believe hockey to be superior to all other sports. Want some proof? Can you chase a puck on skates? Can you do anything on skates? What, no? I've made my point. And don't compare it to figure skating -- there is so much athleticism in hockey.

At least they're only covering the stupid storm during intermissions now, with the scrolling updates running across the top of the screen. So I can watch hockey and drink beer. It's as good a pairing as an IPA and a good, smoky barbecue. Don't question me. I'm pretty surly over StormGate.

Oh wait, there's beer to drink, and incidentally, soothe my soul.

This has had significant time to warm, so I may pick up some different notes than Nathan. I find the aroma bready with a little citrus and caramel and ok, I get the apricot. The flavor is... yummy. Let me take another sip and see if I can pin it down more. I pick up a lot more biscuit and bready tones, with again some orange, and yes, some clove (or perhaps a bite of black pepper). According to BeerAdvocate, it's 6% ABV. As Nathan mentioned, it is very light-bodied and disappearing too quickly for my liking.

This has a familiar flavor to me... but I can't figure out whether I've had this before or whether it's reminiscent of another beer I cannot immediately recall. It's definitely good, and yes, pick some up if you can still find it.

4.2/5 caps


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rogue Yellow Snow IPA

Tonight has been pretty interesting. It's the start of the Stanley Cup finals, game one between the Blackhawks and the Bruins, which just went into overtime. What a great way to start the series! There's also been non-stop coverage of the Storm of the Century since 5:00 this evening... mostly being broadcast over the hockey game. Hockey is way sexier than Jym Ganahl. I would have much rather heard the game than his annoying, mouth-breathing voice for the last several hours. Although it's really hot and humid, and eerily quiet outside right now, so we might be in for something big. So far, everything has gone around us. Before I completely lose it over wanting to watch hockey, I think I'll have a beer. Please.

Every kid has been warned about eating yellow snow. In this case, however, I'm more than happy to drink it. Surprisingly, this is the first Rogue beer we've reviewed. I'm not quite sure why we haven't yet given them the attention they deserve. They're a great brewery out of Oregon (who, I'm sure, was allowed to watch the hockey game in full. No, I'm not as bitter as a great IPA. Not at all). We've enjoyed many of their beers. Just hasn't been on the review list lately, apparently. So let's get to it.

It pours a hazy light orange with a mild white head. The aroma on this is fantastic: pine, citrus, biscuit-y malts, and some faint caramel. The taste is milder than the aroma. It starts off with orange, caramel, bitter hops, and finishes with a faint grapefruit note. It's very well-balanced between the hops and the malts, yet the hop presence doesn't let you forget you're drinking an IPA. It's moderately carbonated, leaving bubbles tickling my throat.

This is a solid offering from Rogue. It's a solid IPA. I love the structure of it and how big the aroma is. I wish it were available year-round, but alas, it's a winter offering. We were fortunate enough to find some on our weekend jaunt to Peoria last weekend.

4.2/5 caps


Looking at our personal list we keep (of all our reviews, in spreadsheet form with a combined rating from both of us), it appears as though this is the first non-collaboration Rouge beer we've reviewed (The collaboration being the North Coast/Deschutes/Rogue Class of '88 Barley Wine). Huh, that's interesting. Rogue is readily available around here and has fantastic offerings (their Voodoo series, their Chipotle Ale, their Chocolate Stout, the list goes on), so I have no idea why we've not reviewed one of their brews as of yet. Maybe we've been hunting the hard to find brews along with a focus on local and regional (but neither being the focus point of these reviews)? Regardless, I'm ignoring the doomsayers on television and taking a break from the 9-8 job (yes, 11 hours) and taking this time to enjoy myself and review beer. Boo work, Hooray beer!

This has had time to warm up while I unwound a bit with a beer shower (yes, I drink beer while taking a shower at night). This pours as Jennie described, with the head still lingering around. The aroma is mostly pine and citrus at this point, little hints of malts, but mostly hop dominance in the aroma. The taste, however, gives different takes from what the aroma leads you to believe. There's orange, caramel, then this muddled happiness of biscuity and earthy tones (malts and hops, respectively). After that, there is a grapefruit zest that punches then fades into a mouth puckering bitterness. A slight resiny mouthfeel toward the back, but a smooth drinking IPA.

 All in all, when available, you should pick this up. If for nothing else, the humorous name is a selling point (although Clown Shoes Brewing's Tramp Stamp also has a great name).

4.3/5 caps


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Founders Devil Dancer

Ah, Devil Dancer. Barely legal in Ohio with your 12% ABV. You who are so tasty with you 112 IBUs and being dry hopped with 10 different varieties of hops (according to Founders' website).

We had this last year at $20ish a 4-pack, ouch. It was worth it last year. Is this year's release worth the $5.49 we spent on this at Broadway Liquor in Pekin, Illinois? (note, we have not seen this in Ohio yet). Yes, I know. I should have poured this into a tulip glass, but at the same point, when you've had 5 different brews tonight (PBR, Flying Dog Citra, Two Brother's Laughing Panda, Deschutes Red Chair, and Deschutes Chainbreaker), I don't really care about how this high test, high IBU nectar of that state up north gets from the bottle into my mouth. It just needs to happen, especially after this weekend.

This aroma is a sucker punch in your face while insulting your favorite family member. Once you get by the potent alcohol aroma, there.... huh.... I think I'm getting a buzz just by smelling this for the aroma... But that aside, once you're past the alcohol aroma, there are notes of caramel, citrus, some faint tropical fruit that at first gets lost then blends with the alcohol vapors. OH LORDY! I'M FEELING THE VAPORS!

The taste is deceptive as hell. It's piney, citrusy, earthy and floral. All the good things you'd expect from using 10 different hops in an IPA. Ah, but here's the catch, there's a heavy malt backbone to this as well, combining caramel and biscuit, but they eventually get overwhelmed with the sheer resinous power of the high alpha acids in the hops. The funny this is, the alcohol bite in this isn't as predominant as you'd think, nay nay. This is like a fantastic Imperial IPA (hence why they call it a Triple IPA). The alcohol is only noticed after drinking it. The hops lend citrus, floral and earthy tones to this in a complete gang bang on your taste buds. Yes, I said gang bang. There's a resiny mouthfeel that's left that would leave the non-hopheads in complete and utter fear and respect of this.

This is good. No, this is damn good! I now turn this over to she-who-has-lady-parts for her portion of the review.

5/5 caps (yes, it's worth $5.50 a 12-ounce bottle)


You're welcome. We bought this in Illinois, where it was quite abundant, so that we wouldn't trod upon your ability to get some of this nectar of the gods here, because Founders has a cult-like following in Ohio, or so it seems. It's not just here, but I do think that we Central Ohio beer lovers are a tad voracious when it comes to our appetites for all things Founders.

Besides, after news breaking today of growing pains delaying Founders' release of All Day IPA in can format and their introduction to the state of Florida, we figured our friends up north could use a little pick-me-up. We're so glad we had this on hand.

I've had two sips so far, trying to determine if there's anything that Nathan missed. I'm already feeling it. The alcohol bite on the back end is just what the doctor ordered after a rough weekend. It's also a lovely garnet color, with a smallish off-white head that doesn't stick around and leaves lovely alcohol legs on the glass. Other than that, Nathan's description is pretty spot on.

I saw in some review somewhere (ok, fine, it was on RateBeer) that someone thought it reminded him a lot of Stone's Arrogant Bastard. That comment made me want to revisit the good old AB, as last time I had it, it tasted more of old ale than IPA extraordinaire. Have I forgotten how hoppy it is? I have no idea! I need to know! Now! Right now! Right this instant!!!!! But I'm not sober enough to drive to buy some! Damn!!!!!! And this is almost gone, and I want more!!!!!

I'm so glad we picked up some of this... it's another fantastic offering from Founders. They have yet to put out a mediocre beer. It's an early summer seasonal of theirs, so when it comes out here, do yourself a favor and chunk down the $25ish for a 4-pack it's sure to be here. Better yet, for our Illinois friends, Friar Tuck's in Peoria had plenty on hand in 4-pack format, and it was $21.99 for four. It really is worth it.

5/5 caps


Monday, June 10, 2013

Deschutes Chainbreaker White IPA

On to the next beer in our series of Brews We Can't Get In Ohio. This is another offering from Deschutes, which is based out of Bend, Oregon. This is Chainbreaker, their white IPA. A quick look at the Deschutes website tells us that Illinois is the furthest east that Deschutes is distributed. Damn. Please come to Ohio soon. I'm digging what you're doing.

White IPAs tend to be brewed with wheat and the usual assortment of wit beer spices such as orange peel and coriander. And hops, of course. Lots and lots of hops. Bravo, Citra, Centennial, and Cascade in this one, according to the website. This one also happens to be a Belgian style IPA.

This pours a hazy pale yellow color with a small-ish white head. The aroma is pretty understated and rather interesting. Bright lemon scents hit me in the nose quickly, along with some coriander and some earthier notes. In the taste, I get a lot of citrus, namely the sweet orange mentioned on the website, faint coriander. Then it kind of fades away and then the wheat comes in to play, and then, long after the sip is gone, there is a faint sweetness of malt presence. This is well structured and smooth as hell in my mouth from the wheat.

I'm almost to the point of recovery from the Weekend From Hell. Or In Hell. I'm not sure which. See, my dad moved from my hometown, Peoria, to a small, hellish suburb that is, um, very monochromatic about 15 years ago. Honestly, I remember a cross-burning in that town when I was in high school, all because a family of African-Americans moved into town. They moved away quickly after their lawn was covered in a burning cross. Can't blame them. I've never forgotten that, nor will I ever. It's not like I grew up in 1958 Mississippi, and it's still not OK with me.

Anyway, for what little remnants of the weekend that are still clouding me, Deschutes has done a lovely job of removing the stigmata that I still bear from the weekend, and for that, I will forever be grateful.

4.3/5 caps


Unobtainable in Ohio #2

Now, as my reflecting counter part has pointed out, this is a Belgian style IPA. The Belgian style IPA seems like it's been picking up popularity (Flying Dog's Raging Bitch and New Belgium's Belgo come to mind). But this is a more of your typical wit bier with the IPA flair to it. Interesting.

The color of the brew is the color of the label, the white head has nearly disappeared in the midst of Jennie's ramblings about the disdain she has for a certain town in Illinois. The aroma is still citrus heavy, with spice and earthiness, but still heavy on the citrus. I love the aroma. The flavor, however, seems light. This is citrus (orange and lemon) and some coriander. There's not really a malt back to the initial taste, but it comes out slightly toward the back. This is... JESUS FUCKING CHRIST TURN DOWN THE TV!!!!! THERE'S NO FUCKING REASON TO BE LISTENING TO HIGHLIGHTS FROM A RACE WHEN YOU HAVE THE TV CRANKED LOUDER THAN A JET ENGINE!!!! Sorry... Fuck! I digress, however. This is definitely more of a wit bier than an IPA. This is a great summer drinking beer, but 5.6% ABV is too light for me at this exact moment. Normally the ABV would be good, but not right now. Right now I need something heavier... Something like our next review.

Overall a great summertime beer, not as hoppy as I'd like, but great flavor combinations.

4.25/5 caps


Deschutes Red Chair NWPA

Unobtainable in Ohio beer #1

Deschutes is relatively new to me. Our first experience with them was the Class of '88 Barley Wine. We saw the Food Depot in Pekin, Illinois had a great mix-a-6 for 75 cents a beer. 75 CENTS A BEER!?!?!?!? OK! So, decided, being the parental figure I am, that we would grab some juice and other supplies for child before heading to the beer/liquor area. We picked up juice and chips and headed toward the register. There was this younger girl (maybe 21) with a... unique look to her that I noticed was giving me the eye. She ended up being our cashier. Still noticed 'the eye' as she was ringing us up (to where Jennie made the comment of 'she wanted you'). Now, this young lady, I have no idea on. She was cute, except for the makeup. I couldn't tell if it was the Harijuku look or trying to mimic Mimi from the Drew Carey Show. Yeah, that much. So after our adventure in the store, we went and started picking our brews. Jennie decided it would be a pleasant idea to drop a bottle of this on the floor (she'll probably claim it was just a mistake and the bottle fell as she was grabbing another). While assisting in cleaning this mess up, we noticed that this smelled fantastic.

So, onto the review. This pours a beautiful amber color with a little bit of off white head that does not stick around. This is a 6.2% ABV, 60 IBU Northwest Pale Ale (hence the NWPA). The aroma is bready, some citrus, some earthy tones, and some spice. Almost like a Rye IPA smell. The initial taste is very bready. It's bready and caramel up front with a delayed kick in of some hops lending a citrus note to the mix, leaving some spice on the backend. Not what I expected. The mouthfeel is smooth with lighter carbonation, leaving a sweet sort of stickiness. This is definitely worth checking out if you get an opportunity, or then again, maybe it's because I can't get this in Ohio. I'm looking forward to the next several reviews of Unobtainable in Ohio beers.

4.4/5 caps


She totally wanted you. To the point where she followed us back to the liquor department. And the bottle dropping and breaking wasn't a mistake; it flew off the shelf. But being the nice person I am, I cleaned it up for the poor girl behind the counter who was dealing with copious amounts of lottery hopefuls and the Gwen Stefani backup singer wannabe.

Back to the beer. In case you can't tell, we're both trying to wash away our annoyance with the way the last three days have gone. So please, let's get back to the beer. He-with-boy-parts described this to a "T". I pick up a hint of earthy tones after the sip is long gone and everything else fades away, but that's just me. This is a fantastic pale ale with spicier hop characteristics.

I can't wait to drink more Deschutes. I'm definitely impressed so far. And seriously, the price. It's about the same price as domestic piss-lager, if not cheaper. I'm sold.

4.45/5 caps


Two Brothers Laughing Panda

It's going to be review night, we decided awhile ago. Like, woke up this morning and discussed reviewing beer immediately after I awoke from the most amazing beer dream. See, Dad decided he wanted to go to my hometown in Illinois this weekend. For some reason, it had to be this weekend. That decision was a double-edged sword: we missed Afternoon With The Brewers (please tell me this will be an annual event!), but we did pick up a lot of beer not available in Ohio to share with you. It's also been a rather frustrating day, where all of us are in edge. Craft beer is on the agenda tonight, indeed. So, without further ado, onto the beer.

Two Brothers is a very popular brewery in Illinois. It's pretty popular here, too, but I think even more so in their home state. They are based out of the Chicago area; Warrenville, to be precise. Two Brothers beers were prominently displayed in every establishment selling beer we visited (sans the bar in our hotel, where the bartender misheard us ask for draft, not craft, beer, and proceeded to offer us Bud Light. At least she had New Belgium's Fat Tire on hand). This is a beer that has intrigued Nathan and me for awhile. It's a green tea IPA. And you can't go wrong with the label: who could hate on a cute panda bear getting a fun buzz on?

This pours a medium straw color with some chill haze and moderate white head. Taking a whiff, I'm impressed with the smooth aroma. It's lightly citrusy, there is a freshly mowed grass note, and maybe a hint of that earthy-yet-bright green tea. When you take a sip, there's a heavy caramel and malty note, which fades out to bright citrus, maybe some cantaloupe, then there's a hint of green tea, and a fairly decent mouth-puckering tannic bite. It's a little sticky on the back of the tongue, but nothing that is overly resinous. It's a rather well-structured IPA.

This is well done. I thoroughly enjoy green tea, and we all know about my love affair with hops. I wasn't sure how the two would go together, or if the generally mild flavors in green tea would get lost in the hop profile. They decidedly do not. They each complement the other quite nicely, and I'm left regretting that this beer is almost gone.

4.8/5 caps


So, more details of this life changing weekend will come about as we progress in our reviews. I have so much to say, but want to drink this (as I've been working on finishing up a painting). I wanted to work on this painting and review beers today, as a break before I head back to work tomorrow... But, no, had to go out to storage in search for this mythical sleeping bag (the reason for going to Illinois this weekend). Note- the fucking sleeping bag does not exist anymore, and if I have to hear one more damn thing about it, I'm going to pack up the 30-some odd beers we picked up this weekend, and head to South Dakota, with no way of contacting me. No loud fucking baseball game on the TV that's progressively getting louder and louder as the blood pressure sky rockets. The chattering of the kid trying to compete with the volume of the TV... Building and building.... Adding bricks to this wall of insanity that's swaying and about to collapse, releasing all the pent up shit from this weekend. What will relieve this? Oh, yes, beer. Beer will relieve this to where I can put this back and regress it until another day.

But onto the beer. After warming up some (while Jennie did lead on this and I worked on The Epic Painting), the white head is still lingering on the straw-like color. The aroma to me is citrus, melon, grass, and some earthy tones, all faint. The first sip is... I can already tell I'll be disappointing when this is gone. As she-who-has-a-dad-who-should-not-be-allowed-to-drive described, there's the caramel tone up front, but it's not heavy to me. It blends with some biscuity tones before leading into some melon (cantaloupe?), green tea and some citrus. Nice and balanced with some lingering citrus and tea flavors on the back end. Little bit of stickiness. Surprising it's only 6.75% ABV, feels heavier (or it could be the Flying Dog Citra that I was drinking while painting).

Interesting is the bottle, to add to the stigma of the Laughing Panda to leave it lasting in my mind.
"A panda enters a restaurant, sits down and orders a sandwich. After he finishes the sandwich, the panda pulls out a gun and shoots the waiter, and then stands up to go. "Hey!" shouts the manager. "Where are you going? You just shot my waiter and you didn’t pay for your sandwich!"

The panda yells back at the manager, "Hey man, I am a PANDA! Look it up!"

The manager looks up the definition for panda: "A free-dwelling mamal of Asian origin, characterized by distinct black and white coloring. Eats shoots and leaves." "

HA! Enjoy that my beer swigging friends, while we hunker down and review another one!

4.8/5 caps


Thursday, June 6, 2013

New Holland Michigan Hatter IPA

I would like to point this out. As of 11:11pm on June 5th, 2013, here are the reviews of this beer:
RateBeer: 0
BeerAdvocate: 2 ratings, 1 'review' (where the person just quoted the label and that was it)
Untapped: 29 people have drank this
Behind The Tap: actual review

So here we are, pretty much giving it to you first, as we did with Magic Hat's Hicu . Now, onto this review.

The label states that "Michigan Hatter celebrates our local agriculture with its Michigan-grown Cascade hops from the Leelanau Penninsula. Bright and aromatic, with delicious malt notes underneath a citrusy showcase of hops. Pairings: sharp cheddars, herb-roasted poultry and curry." This seems like a mysterious brew as of right now. There's no ABV or IBUs listed on the bottle, New Holland's website does not list it yet, and the closest thing I can find is that this is to be released during the Hatter Day Festival in Holland, state up north, which is June 7th and 8th (sources being hopnotes and New Holland). So, again, finding no info on this beer, other than state up north-grown Cascade hops, I dive into this brew, inviting you loyal readers to do the same.

This pours a slightly hazy amber, with a thick cream colored head that sticks around (it's been roughly 15 minutes getting sidetracked with getting the links, and this head is still proudly there). The aroma is earthy, citrus, and a hint of sunshine. Call me crazy, but the aroma reminds me of a perfect day, temperature-wise, cause as we all know, there's no such thing as a perfect day. If there were a perfect day, we'd all be rich beyond our wildest dreams, having huge mansions and maids waiting on us hand and foot. But if everyone had exactly the same, then there would be no rich, we'd all be equal, and you should be locked up for your communistic thoughts. Some men with a nice warm white jacket are coming for you. They're on the lawn, walking toward your door. You should finish reading this review before they take you to your nice 'happy' room. I seem to be getting way off track, but long days with little amounts of alcohol will do that.

Back on track- so the aroma is initial hints of earthy tones, with a blast of almost lemon-like citrus tone, with some caramel tones that try and sneak in. Onto the part that seems the most important to the drinker, the flavor profile. Now, being the first to review this, I could say that this tastes like dog slobber and Cheetos, but I won't. This is more like a Pale Ale than an IPA. This has some nice herbal tea like qualities about this. Everything melds perfectly- there are earthy with the citrus tones from the hops, equally balanced out by some biscuit tones from the malt. There are some herbal tones in here that I can't really place. Not sweet, not really bitter, just perfectly balanced. There's a bit of stickiness to the backend, but not a powerful sweet stickiness, and not a powerful resin stickiness. It's just, like, a perfect stickiness, if you follow me. This is slightly carbonated and drinks very smooth, with a lighter to slightly-medium body. There's no presence of alcohol, which worries me with how smooth this is. This leaves an amazing lace down the entire glass as you realized that you've thoroughly enjoyed the roughly 11 ounces (half of the 22 ounce bottle purchased). Fuck, there should be more of this. Constantly.

4.9.5/5 caps-  Only reason it's not a 5, is it's more like a Pale Ale compared to IPA like the label states. Really damn good though.


Well, Nathan, it is Wednesday, after all... and since "The Americans" won't be on again until next fall, let's resume Commie Pinko Night! Everybody in? Good, glad to hear (as I dust off my Russian primer). Class is in session.

Oh wait, there's beer to drink, so let's get to it. Nathan perfectly described the aroma... and as I take a whiff, I get that perfect day. Which, to be fair, today nearly was, weather-wise: 80ish degrees, low humidity, perfectly mixture of sun with some lovely puffy white clouds. And this is Ohio. Yay us. This will be one of about five days all year that are this perfect. When I took that initial sip, I was smacked in the face (in a good way) with citrus and lemongrass. Then I was a tad disappointed because it's so light, it almost tastes watered down a bit. But just a smidgen. Then the earthy qualities hit you full on long after your sip is gone.

This brew perfectly highlights the beauty that can be a good-quality Cascade hop. It's bright, a tad floral, and a whole lot of citrus, where the earthy tones aren't so predominant you're wondering if you're drinking your way through the latest dinosaur dig. I'm not sure if the hops are from Great Lakes Hops or Hop Head Farms (or another Michigan hop source), but whoever grew these, you've done a fantastic job. And New Holland has put them to a downright magical use. We'll be seeking more of this.

4.895/5 caps -- agreed, it's just too light, although I can see where it might be categorized as a session IPA.