Thursday, October 31, 2013

Three Floyds Alpha King

Ah, we revisit Three Floyds, once again, with their Alpha King pale ale. This is a 6.66% ABV (perfect for the weirdos who think Halloween is some sort of 'devil's day'), 68 IBU brew, made with Centennial, Cascade, and Warrior hops. I'm fine with this. We've been sitting on these last couple bottles in order to do a review, and, again, life gets in the way.

Apparently, there is going to be a release of this tomorrow at our local awesome beer store (Wine & Brew Emporium), so there's no time like the present to drink, nay, enjoy this round of their last release. One thing that kills me is how fast Three Floyds FLIES off shelves in Ohio. I was discussing this with Jennie on the way home from work today, and I'm not sure if it's a marketing ploy on their end or capacity. For those who are unaware of Ohio's beer habits, we consume A LOT of craft beer. With that being said, we also have a flood of it from larger breweries who distribute here (you can find year round releases of Bell's, Flying Dog, Founders, and other breweries in your everyday grocery store). So, my questions were, is it Three Floyds chooses to release their brews at certain times here to make it a rarer release, guaranteeing the sales (as people do like rarer things), or is it just capacity on their end? Hopefully, we'll be able to interview their people soon and figure out answers. Until then, we enjoy this fine selection.

The label was a pain to photograph, as it's metallic. That being said, the pour on this is a dark amber color with light amount of white lacing. The aroma on this is earthy, piney and a tinge of spice with hints of lighter malts. Interesting, as I'm still reeling from the aroma of Founders Harvest. This could be interesting, see if my palate is as wrecked as Lyndsay Lohan, or if it has a glimmer of hope, unlike Lyndsay Lohan.

The first sip of this brings a nice herbal tea sort of flavor. There are some citrus tones blending with herbal tones, almost lemon tones peek through at times. Some caramel tones try and sneak in but instead of trying to take center stage, they add the perfect addition to this concoction. The malts and hops hang out like you do with your high school friends. Sure, there are the loud ones who try and be the center of attention for a minute, but then they mellow out and everyone is just chill.  The mouthfeel on this is slightly sticky after a quick refreshing rush. I can feel the hop oils all over my mouth from these last 2 brews, trying to pucker, but realizing that this sheer bliss for me.... I could float away into a land of paradise right now.

4.8/5 caps


So, as we chill on this Halloween Eve, known as Devil's Night in Detroit (and why it's limited to there, I have no idea -- but if you're unsure as to the validity of this, revisit The Crow series of movies), we are sitting, relatively unharmed, watching a whole lot of the Halloween movie franchise in Columbus and hanging out with the neighbors. At least there's good beer, right (although our neighbors rule)?

This beauty from Three Floyds arrived in our fridge awhile ago, but as Nathan has reminded us, life got in the way of beer reviews. I'm also quite unsure whether it's clever marketing on behalf of Three Floyds or just the crazy craft beer lovers in Ohio, but whatever the answer, our friends in the Indiana suburbs of Chicago have nailed it. They consistently produce phenomenal beer on a semi-available basis. I'm not even kidding, if you see a Three Floyds announcement from your favorite beer store or bar, be sure to head there that day to ensure the possibility of purchasing -- and certainly enjoying -- some.

This is their American pale ale. It's also due for re-release um, well, today, as of now. Ahem, happy Halloween!!! It's a fantastic brew, as we've enjoyed it before, yet we saved a couple from the sixer to review with you. Nathan described the appearance quite well. Since it has warmed a bit, I find the nose to be a soft combination of pine, citrus, perhaps some lychee, and a lovely bready base. The flavor is a lot of lychee (yessssss!!!!), mango, pine, and hints of grapefruit atop a beautiful base of solid toffee and caramel notes. There is really nothing overwhelming with this beer, it's beautifully rounded and extraordinarily balanced. It's pretty much the perfect example of what a great American pale ale should be. It's even well-rounded on the tongue: it's a little sweet, not too sticky, and just soft, if that makes sense.

This is one of three Three Floyds beers making their way to central Ohio tomorrow. Make sure you pick up some and let us know what you think of it.

4.9/5 caps


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Founders Harvest

Ah, it's one of my favorite times of year... it's Halloween Eve (my favorite holiday), and it's harvest ale season. Harvest ales are traditionally wet-hopped, which means that the beer was brewed within a few days of the hops being harvested. In case you have forgotten the distinction between fresh-hopped and wet-hopped beers, we delved into them awhile back. Harvest ales may or may not be technically IPA's, but the freshness of the hops during the brew process is critical and delightful in the end product.

This poured a golden straw color with a moderate white head. The aroma on this makes me want to swim in it: there are notes of pine, grapefruit, and just a hint of caramel. Taking a sip, it's sheer bliss. It starts off just as it smells, with pine and citrus being prevalent, floating atop a heavenly caramel bliss. There is also a fair amount of mango and possibly pineapple in the mix. This is an amazingly clean-drinking beer. It's, well, blissful. This is the point where Nathan is going to praise Hopsus. Consider yourselves warned. It's a little sticky sweet in the mouth, but it's by no means cloying.

Founders has knocked another one out of the park. This is a fantastic brew, and I'm so glad we could get one this year. We thoroughly enjoyed it last year, and this year is no different.

5/5 caps


All Hallows' Eve Eve, nice weather outside (especially considering we had a huge cold snap last week that plummeted down below freezing), who could ask for anything better than an awesome beer to go along with this?  This sure beats the sweetness of American Adjunct Lagers, and I haven't tasted this yet. I smelled the bottle as soon as Jen-tender pried the cap off, sweet Hopsus... If it were legal, I would marry the aroma.

This pours a nice light straw color, almost like a session IPA with small amount of white head. It makes me flash back to the appearance of the great lawnmower IPAs we've enjoyed (Easy IPA and All Day IPA to name a couple). The aroma of this 70 IBU, 7.6% ABV beauty is simply another way to pay homage to the glorious Hopsus. Hopsus be praised! Grapefruit, orange, tropical fruits and hints of toffee and caramel grab hold of your nostrils, trying to shove their way in more. After removing this from under my nose, I fight the urge to go back to the smell. This might take over an hour just to do battled with the aroma to see who wins. Spoiler alert, I'm pretty sure I will. The way I've described this is a sheer understatement of the sheer awesomeness of this. No, I must continue, okay, one more smell of this before I get to the taste. Fuck! If someone could make a candle or incense that smells like this, I would be a regular customer of yours.

Okay, now finally..... damn it... one more smell.... Okay, now, onto the taste. This is smooth drinking, rather lighter bodied with some faint stickiness, not what I'd expect from this. I expected a little heavier bite, but in no way am I complaining. The smell is deceptive of the mouthfeel. The flavors I'm picking up are grapefruit and tropical fruits. There's some slight citrus zest pungency toward the backend with faint bitterness, but nothing overwhelming in the least bit. This would be great to introduce non-Hop Heads into the world of Hopsus. There are at times, as this warms up some more where floral notes pop up. There's some oiliness to the mouthfeel, assuming from the copious amount of hops used in this, but surprisingly not a lot of bitterness, yes I reiterated something I said earlier, but, to be fair, there are some characteristics that are coming out more now that it's warming up to room temp. This does not drink like a 7.6% beer, it's much easier, like, well, Easy IPA (see previous link).

Hopsus be with you.

5/5 caps


Monday, October 28, 2013

Flying Dog The Fear

The bottle states in the text:
"Why is there only one time of year – as goblins, ghouls, and ghosts frolic on front lawns – when we embrace THE FEAR? At all other times, THE FEAR dominates us, controls us, and prevents us from greatness. What is there to THE FEAR? Disagreement? Criticism? Humiliation? Whatever THE FEAR is that consumes you, embrace it, along with this Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Only then will the true artist in you rise up."

The Fear... Not my first encounter with this, both fear, the feeling, and this lovely 9% ABV Imperial Pumpkin Ale. As the bottle says, do not let fear dominate you, you must rise above this temporarily paralyzing feeling and be a better person. Well, maybe not a better person, but enough to remove yourself from the overwhelming feeling. And how does one do this? Well, I personally hold everything in and put on a bold facade until I can get home and drink away all the worries and sorrows. Some sorrows take longer to wash away, such as the loss of a musical icon. So, tonight, I dedicate this review in memory of Lou Reed, who passed away Sunday Oct 27th, 2013. I will note before I begin reviewing this, that the music blasting my ear holes right is Lou Reed solo and Velvet Underground (at loud volumes through ear buds, as to not disturb my partner from watching W. Kamau Bell).

This pours a dark brown color with hints of amber/ruby. Dark, like the lyrics pounding in my ears right now. Opaque with a small amount of off-white, almost khaki colored head that dissipates quickly. The aroma on this is... Fuck... Simply amazing. There are the following; nutmeg, cinnamon, dark fruit, almost a bourbon barrel smell, and some sort of earthy tone to it. None of them in a struggle to overwhelm the others, just perfectly balanced to mount an assault on your olfactory senses. Finally, to the tasting. It's been over a year since this last embraced my lips, all the while, the mind constantly reminding me of the sweet bliss that was brought with this. Sheer desire building over a year of lusting over this seasonal brew, to where a near orgasmic state of mind takes control as the pint glass touches my lips in a sweet embrace, like seeing a long lost love for the first time after a tragedy happened to where you weren't sure if you'd ever get that loving feeling again.

The flavor is dark, rich malts, with almost bitter coffee flavors on the front, followed by a nice subtle attack from the spices. After the cinnamon and nutmeg tag team your taste buds, some ginger comes into the party and dances around like it owns the place. There are hints of a sweeter vegetation from time to time that pop up while the ginger is settling down. There are some wooden tones to it toward the back to give it a nice balanced finish. The big, bold and creamy mouthfeel helps make this the perfect beer for Autumn. Nice dry finish to round this out with a beautiful lacing on the glass.

Side note- Music listened to while typing this:
"Ocean" off Loaded by Velvet Underground
"The Kids" off Berlin by Lou Reed
"The Bed" off Berlin
"Perfect Day" off Transformer (as the pint is raised to my lips)
 "I'll Be Your Mirror" off Velvet Underground and Nico

4.8/5 caps


I will most certainly not be listening to any Lou Reed tonight while typing this. Don't get me wrong; I respect his contributions to the musical world. I wouldn't call myself a fan, however, and I realize that I'm among the few who isn't deeply saddened at his passing. Not that I need to justify my opinion, but all I will reference is Lulu, the dreadful, unlistenable album that he made with Metallica.

It's seriously unlistenable. Lars once called "...And Justice For All" unlistenable (he has since recanted that statement). And then you collaborated with Lou Reed. In what universe did that seem like a good choice?!?!?!

Nathan has described the beer well. It's a ruby or garnet color, with some khaki-colored head that is still sticking around, despite the 45 minutes of lag time and the 9% ABV. It smells like a damn good pumpkin pie: cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin, stone fruit. Let's see how it pairs with a Snickers. No, I totally didn't hit the Halloween candy 3 days early. Yes, I totally did and used a Snickers as a palate cleanser. Besides, we won't have too many kids coming to our door. The flavor of this is quite good... and I can't add any damn thing to what Nathan said, other than I do pick up on some pumpkin actually in the beer. I consider this a good thing, since it's a pumpkin beer.

While the flavor profile suggests that this would be perfect in a pumpkin pie bomb, the 9% ABV decrees otherwise. A pumpkin pie bomb is a shot of whipped cream vodka in a pumpkin beer, then you chug the entire thing. It's a very tasty beverage, but I wouldn't go with an Imperial Pumpkin Ale for that choice.... respect your liver and keep it to regular pumpkin ales that are more session-able. Trust me, I'm a professional.

4.8/5 caps


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Founders Doom

Oh my stars, it's been a over a month since we've done a review. Slackers? Indeed! Or, just life has gotten in the way. Regardless, we still have some stellar beers in our fridge, and within this last month, we came across a random bottle of Doom. Hell yeah. We missed out earlier in the year, so we're really excited about this. And tonight is the perfect night to celebrate by cracking open this amazing bottle of unobtainium, as we're celebrating some personal success. 

I've been discussing beer trades with a rather accomplished home brewer in Louisiana, and I can't wait to put this in my gullet any longer. The color is a beautiful, hazy medium golden orange color with a moderate white head that is leaving some lovely lacing on my glass. The aroma is heavenly: bready, piney, and whoa, there's some bourbon in the nose. In an IPA. My brain just got confused. My reaction upon taking a sip was literally, "Oh my gods." It's that good. Let's see if I can walk you through the wonderland that is my mouth right now. It starts out kind of piney, then warms into this beautiful, soft orange flavor, and then the malts lend their bready presence, and then the bourbon kicks in to remind you that this is a 10% brew, and all the while there's a lovely bourbon presence warming the aforementioned gullet. The mouthfeel is wonderfully round and soft, yet it's well-carbonated.

I was a little leery of this beer, as I don't usually think that bourbon barrels and IPA's go together well. Thank you, Founders, for proving me wrong on that. Now, if you could just send me some KBS, we'll be all good.

5/5 caps


As the intro to American Horror Story plays, this golden elixir sits in front of me. The flashbacks of chaos that was the past month race to the forefront of mind, but gazing upon this, they seem to vanish a quickly as they appeared.

It's had some time to warm up a bit, but still chilled. In the pint glass, it appears to be a nice golden orange color with some faint white head, holding on for dear life, but with a name like Doom, is there more to this 10% ABV beast? Guessing the IBUs are somewhere around 86, as this is a barrel aged version of Founder's Double Trouble (which surprisingly, we've not reviewed yet). A limited release, we were ecstatic to find this.

The aroma on this is... Wow... The aroma is pine, orange, some grapefruit, some biscuit, some caramel, and hints of booze... I'm entranced by the sheer amazing characteristics of this. This grips the olfactory senses and dancing around in joyous fervor, like gnomes, happily playing in fields of hops, holding hands and playing games where they smile gleefully.

Finally, after all this torture, I decide to press the pint against my lips and slowly let this nectar of Hopsus slide into my mouth. There's a lot going on here. Piney, orange, some tangy bitterness, then smooth caramel and a pungent bite of a smooth sipping bourbon. The second sip gives more way to the caramel and bourbon toward the front, but the bitterness of the hops peaks through, giving way to piney and orange and back to the bourbon. This is interesting, and the 10 % can be felt almost instantaneously. The finish is slightly sticky, still lightly carbonated, but a nice smooth mouthfeel.

Well played, Founders, as I laugh that American Horror Story just said "baby gravy" on TV.Was weary of BA IPAs until now, but apparently BA now stands for Bad Ass (instead of Barrel Aged).

5/5 caps