Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bell's Oracle

Squee! Lookee what I have!!! Look who won herself another special raffle-only brew from Savor Market. This is Bell's newest addition to their annual seasonal lineup, and I do believe this is the second year it's been around. It's a double IPA brewed West Coast style, weighing in at 10% ABV and I'm assuming somewhere around a bajillion IBUs. It has received fantastic reviews. I'm so excited to have this in my hot little paws! I've been hounding Bell's for awhile to send some to Ohio, not that I really believe they pay attention to my wheedling and cajoling. And since I can't get my Hopslam until January, this will definitely suffice.

Yes, I know. I should have poured this into snifters. But as I don't have a Bell's snifter, and I do have several Bell's pint glasses, I was going for photogenic. Just be glad I'm not drinking it straight from the bottle. It pours a medium golden color with a fair amount of off-white head that left beautiful lacing on my glass and faded away pretty quickly. The aroma of this is really intriguing: grapefruit, orange, caramel, pine, and maybe a tinge of pineapple. Taking a sip, I realize I need 5 minutes alone. Oh hell, this is fanfuckingtastic. Before I gulp it all down in one big Bellgasm, let's see if I can walk you through the wonder that is dancing across my taste buds right now. Hell, I love them so much right now that they might be my taste best buds, because they're just that happy. There's an initial blast of grapefruit, then pine, then it kind of softens out to a more floral flavor, sweetened by the caramel malts, then at the tail end another blast of pine. The alcohol bite hits late in the game. It's not overly resinous, and sweet enough to leave a little sticky feeling in the mouth. It's simply amazing.

It's also completely different from both Hopslam and Two Hearted. It lacks the honey and is a little hoppier than Hopslam, and it's a lot sweeter than Two Hearted, with different hop characteristics. My dad just wandered out for a moment, waking from sleep to determine what he wanted to do. I gave him a sip, and he waggled the eyebrows several times and said, "It's good." Then he went back to bed. Good thing, because I wasn't letting him have another sip. In fact, I'm wondering if I could possibly sneak into the kitchen and drink some of Nathan's before he notices... he's working on an epic painting and mumbling to himself. He'll never know. Insert diabolical grin here.

Special thanks to Rin at Savor Market. Not only was she the one to sell me the Oracle, she is one of my favorite people to beer geek out with. Her knowledge of beer is unsurpassable. And clearly, the 10% is starting to hit me, as I'm rambling and making up words. But really, Rin, thanks.

5/5 caps. I'm tempted to push this one higher than our self-imposed ceiling.


Oh, I'd know, Jennie. I know whenever there are someone else's lip prints on my pint glass. And I wasn't mumbling to myself, I was cursing myself for sticking my hand in wet paint while trying to get some intricate details in. So, as I delve into this, with an ever-present eye on my beer pilchard of a cohort, I turn on some Ambulance LTD, one of the greatest bands who never had the recognition they deserve, another sad story of a band who got fucked over by a record label.

I think She-who-contemplates-beer-theft described the pour perfectly. There's a small amount of the head still lingering at this point, almost like a poignant reminder of what it once was, still clinging for life at the top of this golden elixir. The aroma on this is probably the reason Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel. Since it's warmed up, it has some alcohol in the aroma that adds a certain element to blend perfectly with the orange, grapefruit and pine. There are hints of caramel that are faint by this point, but still detectable, even with the sheer pungency of awestruck beauty brought on by the hops.

Onto the part that I've been longing for. The taste. Sweet Hopsus! Thou hast blessed my buds of taste with such a gift from you. Hopsus be praised! There's a STRONG hop presence known instantly. There is a Hop Party on my tongue right now. Grapefruit and Pine invite themselves in, bringing friends of Caramel and Floral. Caramel and Floral kind of stand off in the corner, while Grapefruit decides to head home with them. After the trio leaves, Pine decides to be the center of attention and knocks over the antique lamp that's been in the family for generations. He storms off, leaving his bitterness. You decide to call in your friend Alcohol to help you clean up, but he only sticks around for a second at the end of the party and dips out. Yeah, that creative writing just happened.

This is good, nay, DAMN good. Buy, when you find this, instantly. Do not have second thoughts, just be warned that this beer will make you feel good and bring about good fortune in your life.

5/5 caps


Monday, August 26, 2013

Capital Brewing Wisconsin Amber

We continue on through our the toughness of drinking and reviewing beers that we can't obtain in Ohio. It's a terrible job, but someone has to do it, and those terrible people who do this said terrible job are the terrible two known as Behind The Tap. Did I say terrible enough in that last sentence?

Capital has done some interesting stuff (see our reviews on Mutiny IPA, Lake House, and Island Wheat). Let's hope this one doesn't disappoint before the coup de grâce, do to speak, of the night/month (see our next review).

This pours a crystal clear amber with a small amount of stark white head, visible carbonation. The aroma on this is sweet, crisp nose of caramel and bread. The flavor, however, is faint. There is some earthiness that peeks its head in the middle, sandwiched by sweet malt on both sides. Almost a corn like flavor at times. Tastes like Stroh's or PBR, just another American Lager. Nothing too impressing with this. It's smooth drinking and the flavor doesn't linger long.

3/5 caps


OK, now I'm scared. This doesn't seem to be promising. Well, let's see what happens.

The appearance is precisely as Nathan described. The aroma is all caramel and bread from the malts. It starts out earthy, there's a bright blast of oranges and citrus, and it's not nearly as bad as Nathan said. Wait, I spoke too soon. Taking a second sip, that orange has completely faded to sweet corn. The orange isn't even there anymore. What the heck?!?! Nathan said he also didn't have it in his until the second sip. The first sip is actually quite delightful, considering I'm not a huge fan of ambers. And then the strange corn earthiness takes over the rest of my portion. It's one of the strangest brews I've had. And I don't mean in the "too rare to live, too weird to die" kind of way. Huh, imagine that: I'm the one including the Hunter S. Thompson reference for a change.

It's not dreadful, but it's strange. I can't think of any other way to describe it.

3.2/5 caps


Boulevard Pale Ale

How do we follow ups the sheer EPIC that was Stone 17th Anniversary- Gotterdammerung? How about a brew we can't obtain in Ohio?

We've mentioned previously our sheer love of Boulevard, and wish they'd come to Oh-ho-ho. On the same point, while Boulevard does not expand to this market, Deschutes and New Belgium does. Weird, strange times in Ohio when we can obtain Fat Tire and Yuengling at any beer store. Just a couple years ago, this seemed unfathomable, but the times they are a changing. This gives proof, boys and girls, to never give up on your hopes and dreams, as long as your hopes and dreams are getting different breweries to distribute to your area.

Anyways, I seem to be getting sidetracked, as is tradition. I start drinking, then my mind starts wandering to shiny things and ramblings of cats and how Brandon Lee died while making The Crow (okay, to be fair, I've never rambled about it until now, Jennie just so happens to be watching it whilest I am going typey typey typey type, then she tells me she can't believe I've never seen The Crow before. Well, to be fair, I watched Pro Wrestling when Sting reinvented himself with The Crow look and darker 'interviews', so in a sense, I've watched The Crow. Shit, there's another rambling. I think I should end these parentheses areas and actually review some beer).

This was picked up from our trip to Pekin, Illinois. We picked it up in a sampler 12-pack at Broadway Liquor, along with 5 other tantalizing selections. Why, Sweet Hopsus, oh, why is Boulevard not distributed here?

This pours a darker amber color with small amount of cream colored head, which dissipates quickly. Yep, it looks like beer (not a straw colored piss lager). The aroma on this is a blast of caramel, earthy tones, herbal tea, and something citrusy that gives a tickle on the nostril. The flavor of this is... good. A nice earthiness with hints of citrus, lemongass and pine give perfect balance to the malts that give a caramel and biscuity flavor to the mix. This is a lighter bodied beer that would probably turn non-craft drinkers into believers of Hopsus (much like North Peak's Diabolical and Flying Dog's Doggie Style). Nicely balanced, would be better before a 9.5%, hop heavy beast (instead of after). Damn good for a Pale Ale.

4.6/5 caps


I'm flabbergasted... how has one never seen The Crow???? If you haven't seen the movie, don't even attempt the comparison to pro wrestling BS. Mind. Blown. In the 19 years since this movie came out (ummmmm, has it really been that long?), you have had many opportunities to see it, mister.

As Nathan has, in the interim, cracked me up doing an impression of Jennie-as-Swedish-Chef, let's try to get back to the serious nature of the movie and the beer at hand. It's a medium amber color, with a head of off-white that doesn't last. The nose is caramel, freshly cut grass, and some citrus. The taste is very similar to the aroma, with that lovely blast of lemongrass mid-sip that Nathan mentioned. Nathan described it well... much as he has described the way I cook and brew as the Swedish Chef. Wait, no, that's not how I cook or brew at all, come to think of it. At least he nailed the taste of the beer.

Someday, in a perfect world and society, we will be able to obtain Boulevard freely here in Ohio. In the meantime, we have to look forward to New Belgium (December 2013) and Deschutes (February 2014). But really, Boulevard... it can't hurt that much to show Ohio some love??? Please?!?!

4.7/5 caps


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA

This entry is dedicated to the memory of Matt Courtright, 1986-2013. 

We awoke to some sad news this morning. A brewer at Stone Brewing Company, Matt Courtright, was killed yesterday in a forklift accident at the brewery. Stone responded today, and Greg, Steve, and the rest of the group sound pretty distraught. Our thoughts are with Matt's family and the Stone brew crew at this difficult time.

Stone has been making some really kick-ass brews, in case you hadn't noticed. They celebrated their 17th anniversary on Thursday, and we were hoping to celebrate with them. We picked up a couple of Stone brews recently and have been saving them for an epic night. Apparently that night is tonight. Tonight we are drinking their 17th anniversary brew, the Götterdämmerung IPA.

This pours a medium golden color with a moderate white head. The aroma on this is quite lovely, with grapefruit and pine-forward notes and a little hint of biscuit. It's not as strongly aromatic as, say their regular IPA or the Enjoy By. Taking a sip, it's a really interesting IPA. I pick up lemon, peach, a bit of grapefruit and some pine toward the end. What makes it so interesting is that it's not quite as bitter as I expect from Stone, who has mastered the art of the west coast IPA. You can tell there is a solid malt base, but it really doesn't come through in the flavor. Also, the peach really throws me off -- it's a rather pleasant and welcome surprise on my palate. Once it warms a bit, the caramel flavors from the malt really come through at the middle to end. At 9.5% ABV, you would have no idea drinking it that it's that high of an alcohol content, because there is no alcohol bite at all.

A big hearty congratulations to Stone. They've been making some seriously mind-blowing beers for 17 years. Peanut, at the ripe old age of 6, always calls them "Gargoyle Beer," which I find humorous. I've rarely had a beer of theirs I don't absolutely love. The style of the beer doesn't matter, either... I absolutely adore their IPAs, but I also love their Smoked Porter, their Imperial Russian Stout, and the collaborations they have done. Keep up the good work, and we look forward to another 17 years with you.

4.9/5 caps


I may edit something you previously said, "and we look forward to another 17 years with you." I think that should be "and we look forward the many more years of success you have ahead of you." So, this is Stone's 17th Anniversary release. If you don't know who Stone is, where have you been? What planet did you come from? Are you going to allow our government to run tests on you, or will they have to force you into it? Regardless, this has had time to warm up (between Jennie's review, the neighbors' surprise visit, the International Space Station passing over, and finding a good stopping point on the painting I'm working on), so let's delve deep in this and get on with the damn thing.

This, at the current moment, is a crystal clear amber color with a small amount of cream colored head that's trying to hang on for it's little foamy life.The aroma on this is an initial blast of grapefruit that gives way to a nice balance of caramel, earthy, and almost mint-like characteristics. This is different than most Stone brews that we've had, as they utilize German hop strains instead of the typical American strains. The fucking cat just jammed her claws into my neck while she was trying to jump onto the computer chair. Fuck. If she doesn't stop that, she'll quickly realize college football starts this week, as she becomes the ball. Fuck me running, that distracted me. ...Where was I, oh yeah, the flavor. The most enjoyable part of the beer for most people.

Huh. There's a lot going on here. Let's see if I can describe it all and not lose people's attention. It starts off with a smooth caramel that slides down the throat. That caramel gives way to an herbal tea-like flavor with a fading in blast of bitterness. There are some peach-like tones that follow that with waves of bitterness coming and going. There are pine-like notes that jump in sporadically,  but this ends with some grain (think Grapenuts cereal) taking a threshold on the taste buds. This drinks smooth, with a medium mouthfeel, light carbonation and a sheer smile that pops on your face with each sip. There's some slight resin and sweetness left on the cheeks and gums, rather different than what I'm used to with the enamel-ripping styles of IPAs that I thoroughly enjoy.

5/5 caps


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Columbus Brewing Company IPA

So, a couple things I must note before reviewing this. We apologize for the lack of activity on the blog this month. It's nothing against you readers, it's not that we've ran out of beer (in fact there's still 10-12 that we have on hand right now to review), and it's not that we've lost the drive. There has just been a lot going on in our personal lives that had to take precedence over beer reviews. The other thing I must mention before the review is this is a non-normal review, due to the simple fact that this was supposed to be a 12 ounce brew per person for review, well, that didn't happen as one was frozen and although a beer slushy review would be unique, it won't come out of the bottle.

That being said, this is our first Columbus Brewing Company brew that we've reviewed. Slightly bizarre that it's brewed here in town, but such is life. There's a long history with Columbus Brewing Company. From research we're doing independently about the history of Columbus and Central Ohio's multitude of breweries throughout history, we ran across Columbus Brewing Company. Founded in 1830 and existed until 1904 when they merged with other breweries to form the Columbus Associated Brewers Co. 1919 is when that folded, when the bat shit crazy notion of Prohibition hit Ohio (one year before it was nationwide with the 18th Amendment of the Constitution).  In 1988 Cameron Mitchell Restaurants opened The Columbus Brewing Company, making it part of his ever growing dynasty of restaurants. In 2011, Brew Master Eric Bean purchased the brewery portion of it, and has done amazing things. They had the Hop Odyssey brews a couple years back, a different hop oriented brew per month with special releases. One gained so much popularity, Bodhi, that it is now available year round in draft-only.

So enough of the history. You're here for the beer, not the jibber jabber. Anyways, this is left over from our friends' wedding ceremony. Congrats again to my Brother-from-another-mother and his lovely wife. This post is dedicated to them (along with artwork of ours).

This pours a gorgeous clear amber with small amount of white head that dissipates quickly. The aroma on this is fantastic. Piney, grapefruity, some earthy and lighter malty tones. This aroma is what I look for in an IPA. This is why it's a 94 at beeradvocate and 97 rating at ratebeer. Well, maybe that and the flavor. Pine, citrus, grapefruit BLAST as soon as you take a sip. There's then an herbal and earthiness that combines with the biscuit tones of the malt to make it an IPA lovers' beer. Hopsus be Praised, I've been craving an IPA like this all day. There's some resin left on the backend that lets you know this beer was here. It rocked your mouth, much like Brian Setzer and the Stray Cats rocked this town inside out. This is a lighter bodied beer that drinks much like.... damn.... I want to insert a 'your mom' joke there, but I'm not sure if it's appropriate.

4.5/5 caps as I get crop-dusted by the cat


Well, now, that was a history lesson! And Nathan, Jess, at least, prefers to be called partners (or better yet, partners-in-crime), not husband-and-wife. But definite congratulations again to both of you. They're quite a lovely pair, much like this would pair with a wonderful aged cheddar. Or some nice vegan curried chickpeas, since said female partner-in-crime is vegan.

Since my portion has warmed quite a bit since pouring, I find a lot more pine in the nose than grapefruit. Actually, I really have nothing to add or contrast with Nathan's description, because it was so accurate. Right down to the Brian Setzer reference.

Also, I kinda want to flip off Carrie Nation. Just for Prohibition. I mean, really, Westerville (Ohio) has only not become dry within the last five years. Prohibition ended eighty years ago! Way to stay current, you. 

4.7/5 caps -- because I wasn't drinking this while getting cropdusted


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Clown Shoes Let My People Go

Sorry we've been remiss in reviewing beers lately; we limped toward the finish line of summer, straggling toward that first day of school. That day was today, and I'm candidly surprised I didn't start drinking at 8:20 this morning, after the kiddo got on the bus.

This is a brew from Clown Shoes, a brewery based out of Massachusetts, one that we can't get here in Ohio. I'm not quite sure why not, as we picked this up in Illinois, but distributing logic often escapes me. We've enjoyed the titles of Clown Shoes' offerings whenever we have visited, but this is the first one we've picked up. It's an English-style pale ale, so let's see how it goes. This was a one-off batch/limited release from them.

It pours a hazy dark amber color with almost a flesh-tone head. The aroma is heavy on the malts, with orange and caramel being prevalent, with some underpinnings of other tropical fruits and grass. It tastes like some dark stone fruits, maybe some raisins, and some fermented tropical fruit, almost like mango that's been cut open and left in the fridge too long. There are also some biscuit flavors and there's a lot of brown sugar underneath the entire sip. It's pretty heavy-bodied, and try as I might, I just cannot picture sitting in a pub in England enjoying this (I know, it's made in Massachusetts. But it's an English-style pale ale).

Candidly, I'm really not enjoying this at all. I despise raisins, so that's definitely part of it. I feel that this isn't a great pale ale. It's mediocre and it tastes like raisins. Blech. Maybe if I liked raisins better, I wouldn't be so ishy on this. I wish we would have started off with one of their stouts, which are much better rated.

3.2/5 caps


Wow... Um, how do I follow that up? I will say, I love the names of Clown Shoes' brews. This is our first exposure to them and I hope my experience is better than Jennie's. I've had time to let mine warm up more (freshly shaven and showered), so let's give this a go.

Sitting in the pint glass throughout the shower, there's still about a half finger worth of maple colored head to off set the deep hazy brown ale look of the brew. The aroma is is wee-bit on the sweeter side. Ah, hell, who am i kidding, it's a very sweet aroma. Malty, malty, malty. Caramel and dark stone fruit at this point. The flavor is... unique. It's spice, toasted malts, biscuit, and brown sugar toward the front, followed with some mushy tropical fruit, brown sugar, hint of raisin, and brown sugar. Heavy body for sure with a sweet sort of stickiness left on the mouth after the sugary concoction goes down the throat. Not much carbonation to speak of, but not flat.

I can, actually, finish my half of the bottle. The best way I can sum this up is a pumpkin beer, but use stone fruit instead of pumpkin. The 6% ABV is deceiving with how heavy bodied it is.

3.5/5 caps


Friday, August 9, 2013

Founders Mango Magnifico Con Calor

This is the latest in the Backstage series from Founders, and I do believe it's the first one we've had this year. Backstage releases are Founders' one-off brews, and usually sell out the day they're released. This hit Central Ohio retailers today, I do believe. If I have my stories straight, there were two cases of this distributed to Central Ohio. Savor Market received 7 of them, and many other, smaller retailers were left out (I rarely win things, so I tried to procure this elsewhere first). Savor often will raffle off rare releases via Facebook, and this was no exception. I happened to be one of the 7 names drawn, out of around 100 entries. When I saw the post, I squealed. Then I jumped up and down around the house for probably 5 more minutes, and hatched the plan to go pick it up tonight. As we drove past the Budweiser brewery, I flipped them off and shouted gleefully, "F*ck you, InBev. We're on our way to get good beer!"

So, here we are, with this super-rare Founders release we've been looking forward to all year. It's an ale brewed with mango and habanero peppers. I hope you haven't forgotten that we also are something of heat-seekers. My dad will be excluded from reviewing this, as he can tolerate no heat. I mean, he unwittingly shoved a couple of Peanut's Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos in his mouth yesterday, and instantly went running for some drink to wash away the pain. Half an hour later, he was back to normal.

Anyway, there's beer to discuss here, and a very exciting one, at that. My taste buds can wait no longer. This pours a medium straw color, with a rapidly dissipating white head. The nose is barely discernible. There may be a hint of mango, and perhaps a tinge of, wait, metallic notes? Not offensive, but yes, I'm definitely getting some metallic in the nose. Occasionally I can pick up the faintest strain of habanero. Hmmm. The nose is a little off-putting, if you can even find it. It starts extremely sweet, almost like mango nectar or mango simple syrup. There's a hint of caramel quickly flashing across the tongue, then the habanero kicks in. And maybe a hint of black pepper. If you don't enjoy spice, this is not the beer for you. It's not overwhelming, but it's there and it lingers. Finally, the sweetness dries out quite a bit toward the end, all the while your tongue is still tingling with the heat from the habanero. The mouthfeel is somewhat thin yet sugary sticky. I think the sweetness negates any alcohol bite you might expect from a 10% beer. As you drink more, the habanero appears earlier on the tongue. I personally love the flavor combination of mango and habanero to the point where I made a bunch of peppery mojitos a couple of weeks ago, and the mango habanero was the most popular of the night.

This would be fanfuckingtastic over a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. I have to apologize to our dear friends the Wargos, who appreciate good beers and even more, they have an unending loving relationship with hot peppers. They would love this, and we'll try to procure a bottle for them, as this isn't going to last throughout the night. Clearly.

Hmmm. I still have some habanero simple syrup left over from Spicy Mojito Night. I'm thinking a half ounce or so in a bottle of Rubaeus would be pretty fantastic.

4.4/5 caps


Oh, how I've longed to try this beer. Founders, check, hot peppers, check. I'm sold. I am not only a hop head, but also a pepper head. Still contemplating if a Habanero IPA would work as a home brew (clearly it's a hit with Habanero Bodhi from Columbus Brewing and 3 Hot Frogs from Elevator here locally).

Regardless, I'm on a fucking mission. My mission is to try this unobtainable brew with habaneros (one of my favorite peppers), so enough bull shit chatter that I'm sure most will skim through, totally oblivious that I said fucking and shit in one fell swoop of self-righteousness. Onto the review.

This has a nice straw color, similar to a good pils. By now, any remains of the head have gone into a distant memory of past 30-some-odd minutes where I was painting and my partner-in-brew reviewing said beer. The aroma on this is faint, but I pickup mango and hints of habanero. The flavor of this is.... unlike anything I've had before. There's an initial sweetness that's almost cloying, followed by a mango blast with building heat. There's some hints of the flavor of the habanero thrown in throughout this beast. Yes, habanero has flavor, a damn good one, if you can get past the heat. The heat on this is more like a tickle on the back on my throat (not to brag, but I dump insanely hot sauces on damn near everything, so habanero isn't much to me). With each sip, the mango comes out more and more. The mouthfeel is weird on this. Light body, easy drinking (sans the heat for those who can't handle it), dry finish, but yet some sweet residual stickiness. If it makes those non-pepper heads have some sort of sense of sanity while tasting this, the sweetness on the backend does cut down on the heat some. There's a nice warming feeling going down the throat, not sure if it's the 10% ABV on this or if it's the peppers.

4.6/5 caps


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Three Floyds Blackheart

First off, this is our 200th post. Thank you to all the readers who have followed us. Don't forget to like us on Facebook where we share info about upcoming releases, news from the beer world and events in/around Columbus, Ohio (our base).

Onto this, which has been in our fridge, calling nightly to me, for roughly a month. Oh, Three Floyds, why must you make such fantastic beer that I CRAVE your selections while I'm at work? Why, oh, why can't there be Zombie Dust and/or Arctic Panzer Wolf in my mouth while I'm running a forklift. Oh... Wait... Scratch that forklift part.

Well, before I even got to taste this, The Phil has devoured his 3rd of this bomber and said "it's really good!" This has Phil's approval, so it must be good. Despite the 91 rating on BA and the 98 at RateBeer, I take Phil's Approval as the official rating of beer.

This poured a hazy copper orange color with small amount of off white head, which dissipated quickly. The nose is sweet, biscuity, floral with a hint of almost lemon and hints of spice. The initial flavor beckons something similar to a hoppy British brown ale. Pardon my lack of structure on the following, this is typing between multiple sips to try and thoroughly describe/explain the complex flavor profile.
-There are some woody and earthy tones
-There's some orange flavor upfront and again toward the back
-There is spice that pops it's head in from time to time to remind you that it remains.
-Some zest-like bitterness rounding out the end.

Very smooth drinking, medium body with some slight stickiness left on your cheeks and gums. Not the typical Hop Bomb that I'm used to, but not terrible in the least bit.

4.5/5 caps


This has had some time to shake off that fridge chill while I cleaned up from making somewhere around a bagillion gallons of chicken (and veggie, for me) stock for the winter. Dad (Phil) has been feeling a little under the weather, so some chicken and dumplings were in order. And if you know me, I don't do much that's not from scratch. It's not meant to be an I'm-better-than-you thing, it's more that I usually have most of the ingredients on hand, and I always forget to buy stock at the store. Besides, it's way cheaper to make at home.

So, on to the beer. Hazy orange? Check. Faint lacings of the head remaining? Check. I pick up a lot of orange, caramel, and some biscuit in the nose, and yes, there is some lemon and some spice. Let's see if I can take you through the waves of the flavor profiles. I pick up caramel and the accompanying sweetness of caramel initially, then some orange, then the sweetness quickly fades into dry zest-like bitterness with the faintest earthy note, with the spice weaving in and out of the entire sip. I think the spice note is almost like a hint of chamomile and perhaps a tinge of black peppercorn, with the peppercorn coming through at the very end of the taste. As I near the end of my portion, I notice that there is a bunch of sediment floating in what little remains in my glass. Thank Hopsus for unfiltered beer. I also noticed that there was a new note that came out in the after-after taste (remember, that's what I call it when I belch, as often there are a slew of other flavors there -- so occasionally, being rude is a good thing!). I'm trying to gulp down the rest of my portion trying to identify it... seemed a little like chamomile, but it was there and gone before I fully put my finger on it.

And then I realize that I just completely re-described what Nathan said. This is rather enjoyable. I'll look forward to this again, much like we do with every Three Floyds brew. So far, it's the best English-style IPA I've had.

P.S. It was grapefruit in the after-after taste. Finally.

4.6/5 caps


Friday, August 2, 2013

Thirsty Dog Citra Dog

Thirsty Dog is out of Akron area, which is relatively close to our area. We actually were a few blocks away from the brewery for a wedding earlier this summer. And it's rather hard to type and relax when you have 2 cats on the computer chair with you, one on the arm and one on the back of the chair. Thus, forcing me to type like a god damned T-Rex. Speaking of T-Rex, get it on, bang a gong. But fuck it, onto the sermon.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the congregation of Behind the Tap, we are brought together today for one purpose and one purpose alone. IPA Day. Now, what is IPA Day? Some may think it's a made up holiday to get drunk. No, my brethren, that would be St. Patrick's Day. Some may think it's a made up holiday to honor a certain style of beer. Closer. No, my fellow hop heads. No. Today is the day where we call upon Hopsus to bring us great beers of a certain variety. And if we honor him in a special enough way, he'll bless us with the gift of great beers. Now bow your heads to Hopsus. Open your books to Citra 1:73 and read along with me.

"95 IBU, 6.5 ABV, oh Hopsus. You're blessed me with this beer today. I shall drink your offering and honor you above all others. In his Hoppy name we praise thee."

This beer. Holy Hopsus this beer. This is my 2nd of the night on this, and I wish I could replace all the cheap beer in the world with this. No more PBR or Stroh's, just this. I feel like I'm cheating on my regular Dogs here (Flying Dog), but this is worthy of His Hoppiness's name.

FYI, BeerAdvocate has 20 reviews on this, Ratebeer has 35 reviews. So, it's a little reviewed brew. Not sure if it's a distribution thing, that it's a newer brew, or that people are confused by some sort of Super Dog on the label.

A nice golden copper pour with a bit of some white head. The aroma on this is what I wish my homestead smelled like perpetually. Sheer Citra hops. Citrus (lemon and orange), peach, mango, and other tropical fruits (lychee?) with some hints of biscuit and faint grass notes. PRAISE HOPSUS! The flavor on this is something fantastic. I don't know if the English language has enough words to properly describe the sheer awesomeness of this. There's an initial rush of orange zest that fades into a peach and mango combo, trailed slightly by a quick burst of lychee and faint earthy flavors, leading into a nondescript tropical sweetness that rides out until the end. There's an initial wave of bitterness that spirals out slowly until long after the flavors have faded. The resiny stickiness left on the cheeks and gums is a beyond warm welcome on this, Dia de los IPAs. It's hard to type with a cat who just jumped on your shoulders, but it's my monstrous gatos (Gia), so it's okay.

I now pass this off onto my female counterpart for her insightful views while I deal with shoulder cat.

5/5 caps


Um, I'm really not sure how to follow that up. That was a fantastic description of the beer, despite my heathen ways being tainted (Happy Lughnasadh/Lammas to all my Pagan friends out there. Yes, today has quickly become one of my favorite days of the year).

Mine has had some time to warm (seriously, I killed two Stroh's while he was typing his portion). The lychee in the nose really has come out. Yeah, lychee. Fanfuckingtastic. The flavor is also lychee mixed with mango and a sharp bite, perhaps some black pepper? Pine needles?, with a whole lot of citrus and more pine in there, as well. But Nathan's description of the taste was so fantastic and spot-on, I have nothing else to add other than to praise Hopsus.

This is a hophead's dream. If you can find Citra Dog where you are and if you enjoy hops, please obtain some of this. It's good. It's really good. I wish we would have detoured to the brewery while we were in Akron for Michelle and Dan's wedding, but we're close enough to make a road trip. And I'm quite fine with that.

5/5 caps


North Peak Diabolical

Happy IPA Day! While we were perusing one of our favorite beer stores, we realized that we haven't reviewed any North Peak brews, and we love them! This was the first brew from North Peak that we had, two or three years ago, when they first started being distributed to Ohio. We've loved every brew we've had from them, so when we saw this, the planets aligned, the skies opened, and here we are.

North Peak is out of Traverse City, Michigan. This is their IPA, a fantastic gateway IPA that has turned many a hop-averse person into a hophead. It's 6.66% ABV and 66.6 IBUs -- hence, diabolical. Have we mentioned that this is right up our dark and evil alley?

This pours a hazy, darkish orange with a bit of off-white head. The aroma is warm citrus and pine notes. Damn, Nathan is burning some no-bake cookies, so now that's all I can smell... Taking a sip, I am blasted in the face with pine, caramel from the malts, there's some orange, a hint of mango... ohhh, this is a wonderful way to celebrate IPA Day! It's well-balanced, yet perfectly hoppy. It finishes pleasantly sweet, with nothing really discernible in the aftertaste. It's a little resinous in the mouth afterwards, but it's not appalling. I could drink this all day long. The pine note throughout the taste makes me think of Traverse City, a beautiful town in northern Michigan. It's a very well-done brew.

Oh man, now the entire house smells of wonderful no-bake cookies (he's claiming it was sugar spilled directly on the burner). That's a lovely smell that we're going to have to hide from my kid in the morning. He would eat the entire batch, and we're attending a wedding reception with a dessert potluck. Best yet, the bride is vegan, so these are vegan no-bakes. I'm downing the rest of this pint in the thought of vegan baking (I'm undertaking a vegan version of my mom's fruit crisp).

4.7/5 caps


It was sugar spilled on the side/bottom of the pan while I was pouring the ingredients into the measuring cup to put into the pan. Giant lump of sugar landed in cup and blasted sugar all over the counter, including side of pan. While moving the pan around (adding other ingredients), sugar got onto the bottom. So, no, I was not making shit up, and yes, I feel dirty making vegan cookies without beer and or bacon.

So, mentioning beer, Hoppy IPA Day. With that being said, it's time to let go of the hilarity of things that happened at work and get down to brass tacks of the task at hand. Beer. Oh, sweet Hopsus. Why is it only one day a year we give solid praise to you? If you haven't realized by now, we're clearly hop heads (roughly 1/3 of our reviews being a variety of IPA, not including the hoppy reds, wheats, or pale ales). So, onto the review. Roughly a half hour after being poured, finishing cookies and Jazzy scratching my back as she sleepily fell off the chair, we're onto the review.

This pours a gorgeous orangey color with decent amount of off white head. This head lingers around some, even after 30 minutes. The aroma on this is citrus, pine and caramel. Smells so tasty. The taste on this takes me back to hot summer days a couple years ago, introducing people to this and Flying Dog's Doggie Style, while sitting out on the patio of the bar. There's a maltiness to this initial taste, almost caramel, right before some pine notes dig their ripping talons into your taste buds, the pine fades and leads into some citrus (orange mostly) and tropical notes before riding out on a smooth orange-esque note. There's still decent carbonation at this point with a decent resin that leaves the love of Hopsus on this glorious day.

4.75/5 caps