Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Potosi Snake Hollow IPA

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This is another brew that we picked up at Friar Tucks in Peoria, Illinois. We went through and each grabbed 6 beers that we can't get in Ohio (along with the pack of Destihl Hoperation Overload). As we move our way through these, I'm brought slightly down. That was our only trip to Peoria that wasn't for pleasure. As I've said in previous post, craft beer helps with feelings that you bury deep inside. Anytime those feelings start to come out from the cage you think you've trapped them in, chase them back in with some craft beer. I'm pretty sure 5 out of 4 doctors who struggle with fractions would agree with me.

So, Potosi Brewing Co seems to have an interesting, long history. I won't go into the history (for sake of losing readers) but you can check it out here. This is a 7% IPA that seems to be readily available in their distribution area, although Columbus, Ohio isn't part of that. This pours a nice light copper color with minimal off white head that dissipates quickly. The aroma on this is caramel with grapefruit and citrus. With each swirl, the grapefruit and citrus come more toward the front while the caramel fades. Wow, yeah, I just swirled beer. Does that make me a pretentious beer snob now? Damn, I hope not. Regardless, the aroma on this is good. The first sip of this is a slightly sweet caramel flavor with building, refreshing blast of hops toward the back end. Once the hops kick in, it changes my mind about this beer. At first, it was 'eh, another malt heavy beer that people are trying to pawn off as an IPA,' but no. The hops kick in and give a nice juicy burst of grapefruit and orange. The bitterness that's left is welcoming; slightly sticky yet not overwhelming.  This finishes dry, making me want more. Sadly, my portion is done, leaving me longing for more. This is good now, I'm sure if we had it fresher, it would be better.

This is our first beer from Potosi. Despite the name (I fear snakes. I feel like Indiana Jones "Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?") I would love to try their other selections. Sadly, it will have to wait until we travel to one of their distribution areas.

4.1/5 caps


Did you know??? This site can tell you what states can get the beer you seek, and vice versa. I have found it quite useful and it seems to be updated frequently. Insert "The More You Know" bleep and theme here.

I had no idea that each of the beers that I threw into the fridge tonight were from Wisconsin. I would insert some taunting here to Nathan about the Big Ten, but I will suffice it to say that I have Melvin Gordon on my fantasy football team. Yeah, because shit is gonna go down Saturday. Not like the shit going down in Ferguson, Missouri currently, but still, shit's goin' down. That said, our thoughts go to the people in Ferguson. Michael Brown's family said it beautifully, "While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change." Do the right thing, people, please.

Well, that got heavy quickly. So, how about this beer? I walked past it earlier, while my partner-in-equality was writing his portion, I sniffed it, and commented either that there are a bunch of Amarillo hops in this or that the hops were past their prime. I have since learned that Amarillo hops are present in this, but Nathan promised that it tastes better than it smells. So, let's find out for sure. It is a transparent, medium golden color with minimal white head remaining on top of the beer. The aroma is, to be frank, disappointing. Vague citrus, caramel heavy, and just bland are what come to mind when I smell this, perhaps along with some pineapple that is two weeks past its prime. It tastes about the same until that finish... oh, that finish is lovely. It is crisp and dry and lovely. The pineapple note seems fresher in the taste than in the aroma. The finish on this is nothing less than fantastic, and it saves the beer for me.

I am definitely iffy on the Amarillo hop. I don't always love it, and I identified the reason for that tonight: it tastes like hops that have seen better days, even when fresh. I would not mind trying more beers from Potosi, and indeed, would like to drink this a little fresher. Definitely not a bad pick from Peoria, though.

3.7/5 caps


Cheese Pairing: A medium-bodied white cheddar
Food Pairing: Ham and potatoes au gratin
Music Pairing: Anything by The Lizard King

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tyranena Bitter Woman IPA

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Well, I think they named a beer after me! Bitter Woman IPA tonight is brought to us by Tyranena Brewing in Lake Mills, Wisconsin. Although they somehow messed up my portrait, I am quite a bitter person who loves bitter beers. If I were better at Photoshop, I would totally replace the handsome woman on the label with a picture of yours truly. The side of the bottle, however, refers to an Aunt Cal, allegedly a former paramour of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who ended up never marrying. Sounds like she was more sad than bitter. Nevertheless, we are encouraged to drink this with a bitter woman, so you all get to drink it with me.

My bitter story of the day goes something like this: As many of you know, Nathan is an Ohio fan, while I am a die-hard Michigan fan. It is Rivalry Week here, in case you don't follow the college football world. Not only do our teams play each other with all sorts of stuff on the line, but we also play each other for the championship for our fantasy football league. So, I went to put my seven-year-old to bed, and he asked me to read him a story. We are currently in the middle of reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I looked down at his pajama pants and had to tell him no story tonight, not because of behavior or other issues, but because he had the audacity to wear Ohio  sweatpants to bed during rivalry week. He's not even an Ohio fan! (Northwestern, natch... because purple is his favorite color and he loves cats; they are the Wildcats. At least he is keeping it within the Big Ten.) I think that was a pretty bitter response.

Anyway, shall we move on to the beer? This pours a medium orangey golden color with a couple fingers of off-white head that don't stick around for long. It had some chill haze from the refrigerator, but that has since cleared. The aroma on this is wonderful. Grapefruit, pine, orange, and a hint of caramel waft past my nose, while no particular aroma really overwhelming. As I go take my first sip, I notice that the head has now almost completely dissipated. Flavors of pine and caramel overcome my palate, and it finishes very piney and bitter. I like the finish, but I'm a little disappointed in the beer overall. The aroma on this was quite promising, but the flavor is pretty flat and one-dimensional. It's almost like drinking pine sap. It is medium-bodied and really leaves nothing remarkable for mouthfeel. At least the finish isn't too disappointing.

This is one of two Tyranena beers we brought back from our last trip to Peoria. The other one will follow soon.

3.6/5 caps


Babe, we do this every year, but to make it official, it's 10:11 on Monday November 24th and That Team Up North still sucks. To edit your post, it's not 'Ohio', it's "THE Ohio State University." You call us Ohio as per your ham-eating fat sack of shit coach, who's on his way out, who defeated us once. Did you know he went to the MAC for college (Ball State)? Is that because your school was too prestige at the time to let some Don Vito-looking bastard on the team? He knows who Ohio is and who Ohio State is. For those who aren't aware of the difference, I'll do a quick breakdown. Ohio is a university in Southern Ohio known for its parties and riots during Daylight Savings; Ohio State is a university in Central Ohio known for its parties and riots during football season. Ham-eater and your other terrible coach (Rich Rod) have brought down your team to where one of your rivals has taken your only claim to fame as late (best win percentage of all time).

Football rivalry aside, This has had time to warm up some while she-who-roots-for-the-wrong-team did her rant. This now has no chill haze to it, but is a clear orange-golden color with faint off-white head lingering around. The lacing on the side of the pint glass shows where the head once was. Nice lacing.

This 5.75%, 68 IBU beer is brewed with Magnum, Cascade and Amarillo hops with 2-row, pale, caramel, and carapils malts (according to a picture from Tyranena's website). The aroma is grapefruit and pine heavy with faint caramel and earthy notes taking backside to the hop characteristics. The first sip, pine with hints of some caramel, occasional grapefruit zest coming through from time to time, but mostly pine. The finish is bitter and very resinous. Honestly, not bad, not A+. It's nice to enjoy something that we can't obtain in Ohio though.

3.6/5 caps


Cheese pairing: A grassy local farmer's cheese
Food pairing: Ham salad sandwich
Music pairing: Alanis Morrissette, "You Oughta Know"

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Destihl Hoperation Overload

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We picked this up on the way back to Ohio after The Phil's memorial service in Peoria, Illinois. It's been a rough year with deaths, for most people I know, but we have the solution, ladies and gentlemen. Craft Beer helps take away some pain.

We were mixing 6 packs and decided to get a 4 or 6 pack of an IPA to drink/later review once we completed the long 7 hour drive back to Columbus, Ohio. We stumbled upon this, a local to Illinois brew, not far from Peoria. We were intrigued by the sign at Friar Tucks saying it won bronze in the World Beer Championship. Ok, beer, Ohio bound you are.

9.6 % ABV, 85 IBUs seemed like the perfect treat around midnight after a 7 hour drive across 3 states. It's been many beers ago (and much turmoil), so let's see how it stacks up now.

This pours reddish-orange with about 2-fingers of off-white head that dissipates quickly, leaving wonderful lacing in its wake. The aroma on this has sweet, caramel, citrus and almost banana notes. The initial sip- a punch to the face of boozy notes and astringency that leaves your taste buds paralyzed momentarily. The second sip- Ah, there's flavor. Big malty (caramel mostly with some biscuit) take the forefront while the hops slowly build up. Orange, earthy, and grapefruit start and then that banana pops in. On the back end there is pine and a weird tartness until the bitterness builds to mouth puckering stickiness. Medium mouthfeel for a 9.6% brew.

3.6/5 caps


I remember finding this at Friar Tucks and being excited that there was a brewery in a nearby town (Bloomington, IL) that was putting out good beer. I then remember drinking it when we got back and being a little disappointed. Then again, that entire trip was pretty much a downer, other than getting to spend time with some of my favorite people on the planet.

This poured quite foamy and as Nathan mentioned, the head dissipated quite quickly. It is a clear medium amber color. The aroma on this is caramel, mild pine and grapefruit, and on the third sniff, I finally picked up the faint banana that my beertner discovered. The flavor is... a bit odd. A rather balanced double IPA, with the requisite sweetness and not as many hops as I would like to taste. Yet it is bitter, and the banana sort of underpins the entire taste with the citrus, pine, and grapefruit kind of floating above it. It's almost like they open fermented or at least fermented it at too warm a temperature. This being a can, I'm not sure that that would ever work itself out. It's not bad, don't get me wrong. It's more balanced than I prefer for a DIPA, and I find the banana note a little off-putting. It's really sweet, yet the hops come in to attempt to balance it out, but somehow kind of miss the mark. It's sticky sweet on the tongue and medium-bodied.

All in all, a little disappointing, but from what I've read, DeStihl produces many other great brews. I look forward to trying something different when we are back in Illinois. 

3.5/5 caps


Food Pairing: An Italian beef with spicy giardinera
Music Pairing: "Paralysis" by Scott Weiland
Cheese Pairing: Smoked provolone

Monday, November 10, 2014

Deschutes Chasin' Freshies (2014)

Every autumn, many breweries harvest hops either grown onsite or at a farmer they collaborate with and brew a fresh-hopped beer, which means that they are added to a beer within 24 hours of being harvested. I don't care for cold weather or winter. In fact, I so loathe winter that I don't even really like autumn, simply because it means that winter is right around the corner. There is one thing to celebrate during the autumn, however, and that is harvest season. Harvest season means fresh-hopped beers. That is the one bright, shining light to this time of year.

Every year Deschutes changes up the hop variety in Chasin' Freshies, and this year's release features Mosaic hops, one of my favorite hops. I have heard a rumor that there is going to be a shortage of Mosaic next year, so I plan to drink and brew with it as much as possible. It is a beautiful, complex hop with a distinct aroma and flavor, and I think it elevates most beers to a new level.

This pours a beautiful light straw color with no chill haze and tight carbonation bubbles rising rapidly through the beer. When I initially poured this, it had a moderate white head with loose, soapy bubbles that has now diminished to about a half finger. The aroma on this! For the love of all things fresh, this smells absolutely amazing. Passionfruit and guava and grapefruit and grapefruit zest hit my nose. There are some light crackery notes in the aroma, but it's mostly a showcase of the hop. I can wait no longer; I must have this in my mouth immediately. It is as good as it smells, for certain. There is a faint pine to go along with the copious passionfruit, guava, and grapefruit that were present in the aroma. There is a slight black peppery note toward the back end of this that is a welcome little surprise. Notes of cracker float in and out of the flavor. Dudes. This. This is good. It has a light body and soft mouthfeel. I think I'll go sneak some of Nathan's and hope he doesn't notice.

5/5 caps


Really, dear? On the eve of the celebration of my day of birth, you're threatening to steal some of my half WHEN YOU HAVEN'T EVEN FINISHED YOUR OWN?!?!?! Wow, it must be good. Jennie hasn't threatened to pilchard beer in a while.

This has had time to warm while I showered and Jennie took lead. As I slide back into this chair, ear buds blaring music, I gaze at this beer. It's a clear light straw color with a small amount of white head sticking around, much less than when it was poured. Still some carbonation bubbles floating up.  This 7.4% ABV, 65 IBU fresh-hopped IPA has been calling my name all day. I've been longing for this today, despite never having it. It's like the desire to have the open road in front of you while not really knowing where you're going, but never looking back. The aroma on this is a huge blast of hops. Tropical fruit, grapefruit, and some faint pine climb into your nose and start a mini-mosh pit, enticing you to stage dive into it and join the pit. "Get in the pit," you hear tiny voices saying, beckoning you to be one with the hop aroma. I don't need much convincing with a fantastic aroma like this, but I always wonder if it's angelic voices telling me to join the hops, or if the sound is coming from the sirens, leading me toward the rocks. Upon the first sip, I can tell it's divine voices calling to me. Slight pine and grapefruit with slight bitterness initially, then a big juicy blast of tropical fruit that quenches the bitterness, leaving a refreshing feeling. The juicy notes fade as grapefruit and building bitterness takes the forefront. This drinks more like a session IPA than a 7.4%. The little cherubs with hops for heads sing the praise of Hopsus with each sip, giving a refreshing blast, leaving the mouth sticky with hop oils.

This is fantastic and a great way to forget the potential of snow tomorrow (only in Ohio can you have a high of 65 then it drops 30 some odd degrees and gives you snow). Do yourself a favor and give praise to Hopsus by going out and purchasing some.

5/5 caps


Food pairing: Colorado enchiladas (you know, with pork and the green sauce)
Cheese pairing: Fuck it, go for broke. A damn good quality Asiago.
Music pairing: Neil Young, "Harvest Moon"

Friday, November 7, 2014

Knee Deep Imperial Tanilla Porter

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If you have been following us for awhile, you know about our deep love for all things Knee Deep. Belgo Hoptologist won a silver medal at the 2013 GABF. I have already started plotting my procurement of a case of McCarthy's Bane for when season 3 of The Americans starts. We have thoroughly enjoyed every beer we have had from them and look forward to a couple more. For such a young brewery, they are putting out amazing beers and have recently undergone a huge expansion. This was their anniversary brew for their second year. Slainte and we look forward to many more years of your brews!

This imperial porter pours a deep brownish black, as dark as 10,000 mile old engine oil. There is a bit of khaki-colored head that is quickly fading and leaving fantastic lacing on this 10% beast. The aroma is wonderful: dark chocolate, vanilla, a medium-roast coffee all waft past my nose. It doesn't seem overly sweet, which I was dreading. Taking a drink, there is a lot going on in here. Dark chocolate comes through first, followed by faint roasted malts, coffee, and then toward the end, the vanilla shines through. There is a moderate boozy note toward the back end of this, but it is not overpowering. There is almost a wood flavor toward the end that makes me wonder if they barrel aged this, even though there is no indication that they did. This has a medium body, great carbonation, and feels like velvet.

This is another wonderful offering from the great people at Knee Deep. For our first foray into a not-hop-forward beer from them, I am impressed. It's delicious and very warming on a cold, rainy Ohio night.

4.8/5 caps


This has intrigued me more once Jennie audibly said "Wow, what just happened?" while taking her first sip. That's few and far between to where it must be good. I feel lucky/blessed that we are one of few states that Knee Deep distributes to, as we've thoroughly enjoyed their brews. If I ever get to meet the Hoptologist (Brewmaster Jeremy Warren) himself, it would be like meeting a rock star.

We've sat on this for a while with all the things this year has brought us (death, death, death, death, think I'm missing a couple) but are now finally getting to sit and enjoy this on a cold, rainy Ohio night.

This has a deep dark color, as Jennie said, 10,000 mile motor oil. As I sit and blare Union Underground's token album, I delve nose first into this. Fresh vanilla (not that fake candle smelling artificial crap), chocolate, and coffee notes dance around my olfactory senses, bringing the realization that I just sat through 1 song just smelling this. Huh. Fuck. I get it, when Jennie said "Wow, what just happened," I get it now. Dark chocolate cascades the taste buds with espresso lending itself for a second before some vanilla makes an appearance at the party. The vanilla becomes the life of the party, but not too overwhelming to where it starts crashing into shit and wrecking your taste buds. I get the woody notes Jennie mentioned at the very back end, just to add to the awesomeness, yet complexity that my tongue is trying to decipher.

We reiterate that we like Knee Deep and all they have done. We are looking forward to reviewing Hoparillo and the Citra extra pale ale. I just wish that Ohio alcohol limits weren't 12%, so we could get your Hop-De-Ranged (although if someone wants to send us one to review, contact us).

4.8/5 caps


Cheese pairing: Muenster
Food pairing: Death By Chocolate cake
Music pairing: Ozzy Osbourne, "Bark at the Moon"

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thirsty Dog Rise of Mayan Dog

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We head into International Stout Day with cold, rainy weather here in Columbus, Ohio. Perfect weather for this. It's been a long daunting week doing factory work, with a potentially broken toe from an incident last night. The back and shoulders are in pain, the toe is bumping, time to enjoy something as dark as how life feels right now.

Thirsty Dog is out of Akron, Ohio. I can't believe we've only reviewed one of their beers! I feel ashamed. I could have sworn we've done more. Regardless, Thirsty Dog puts out fantastic brews. We've been sitting on this one for a while. We picked it up with a slew of other beers a while ago from our friends at Wine & Brew Emporium. I believe this might be the next to last from that batch.

The bottle says "Celebrate the new rise of civilization with this bittersweet, big, bold, black beer filled with old world and traditional Mayan spices, including honey and cocoa nibs." 35 IBUs, 7% ABV.

This pours your typical stout color; dark brown, almost black and opaque. No light coming through this. A small amount of beige head on the pour that dissipates quickly. The aroma on this is dark chocolate, caramel, almost a cinnamon scent at times and faint boozy notes. The flavor on this is interesting. There is a lot going on, I'll try to describe the roller coaster ride that slides across the tongue pleasantly. The initial flavor is dark chocolate, then a nice honey flavor comes toward the forefront. The honey gives way to a darker roasted coffee, which leads into a nice spice combo, I'm picking up cinnamon heavy, but there are other spices I'm missing. The spices gracefully bow and leave the stage, allowing some slightly bitter roasted and chocolate notes that ride out to the end. This drinks smooth. Without notice, you look down, trying to take another sip but you realize your portion has vanished. Hmm... Could I have enjoyed it all without noticing? Is there a leak in my favorite pint glass (yes, I know, not proper glassware for a stout)? Did Jennie sneak some while I was lost in thought? Regardless, it's a smooth drinking stout that leaves you wanting more (a huge compliment as I'm not a huge fan in general of stouts, I'm a hop head who loves IPAs).

4.6/5 caps


Hell no I didn't sneak any while he was lost in thought! While I have been known to do that (cough cough, PseudoSue), I own up to such shenanigans. I'm a little affronted to be accused of such chicanery!

Let's get to this. My partner-in-zymurgy described this quite accurately. He also described the aroma rather well. Dark chocolate, honey, dark coffee, with a little honey and some spices such as cinnamon play across my mouth as I drink this. It's not as sweet as I expected from a beer that so prominently announced the honey, and the finish is almost bitter with chocolate and coffee notes. It has a really good flavor. I think it is a little thin in body, though there is some residual sweetness from the honey. There is almost a black tea-like astringency to this that works well in this beer. And it is most definitely smooth-drinking.

Really, this is only the second Thirsty Dog beer we have reviewed? I'm shocked. I have enjoyed every beer I have had by them, and we have had almost all of their beers. They are a solid brewery making great beers.

4.4/5 caps


Music: The Doors "Riders On The Storm"
Food Pairing: Baklava
Cheese Pairing: Queso quesadilla

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Prairie/BrewFist Spaghetti Western

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How does one celebrate the entrance to your craft beer market by a highly touted brewery? By drinking one of their beers you obtained elsewhere, of course. Prairie Artisan Ales is based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and makes some widely touted beers. We happened across this one in a trade and look forward to drinking it. This is a collaboration brew between Prairie and BrewFist out of Italy, and is an imperial coffee stout with coffee, cacao nibs, and yes, spaghetti. As a brewer, I'm scratching my head at the addition of the spaghetti. I can only think it might plump up the ABV and mouthfeel a bit on this. But also, I'm intrigued to know how they did this. Did they put uncooked spaghetti in the mash? Did they use cooked spaghetti? Did it go in sometime other than the mash? These are things a homebrewer ponders.

Yes, I put it in a coffee mug. It's imperial. It has coffee. The mug is kind of tulip-shaped. It works in my mind. The only problem I see is that the mug isn't clear, so you can't get a great idea as to the color and appearance of this. That, and that I didn't have this for breakfast. Will you just have to take my word for it? Perhaps. This poured a deep, rich brownish-black color that is opaque and had a decent amount of light coffee-colored head. The aroma on this is wonderful: coffee, coffee grounds,  bittersweet chocolate, and just a hint of vanilla and booze in the nose. The taste of this is fantastic: Fresh coffee, espresso, bittersweet chocolate and a hint of vanilla all come in to play throughout the taste, with the coffee and chocolate flavors being prevalent throughout the taste. But then there is something else that sneaks in, something different. You can actually taste the spaghetti in here. It's noticed toward the end, and it tastes vaguely like semolina pasta. It just kind of hangs out, doesn't detract from the chocolate and coffee flavors going on, it just adds a bit of a different taste. This is moderately carbonated and really good, but a bit thin in body. It is fairly sweet, despite the bitter flavors going on in here. I want this for breakfast tomorrow.

Tomorrow is Monday. Can we please make that happen?

4.6/5 caps


I hate Sundays. They are harsh reminders of the impending hell that must be suffered until, once again, Friday comes around and leads you into the shortest part of the week. This is intriguing, brewed with spaghetti... hmm... I've heard of random things being brewed into beer (boxes of cereal, bacon. oysters, rocky mountain oysters), but I've never heard of pasta in beer. Eh, why not?

I am drinking this out of the bottle, so unable to tell color. Jennie basically nailed the nose (coffee, chocolate, vanilla and boozy notes) on this 8.7% ABV brew we can't obtain in Ohio. The taste is coffee, more coffee, some chocolate, then more coffee. As the coffee-heavy taste starts to fade, there are some vanilla notes that become more noticeable. Decent carbonation, smooth drinking. Finishes slightly sticky (but not sure if it's sweetness or hoppy, as this does have 60 IBUs).

It should also be noted that this is an 11.2 oz bottle with a note on the label that says "Product of Italy". Those Italians and their 331.2ml bottles...

4.6/5 caps

Food pairing: This would be fantastic poured over your favorite chocolatey breakfast cereal
Cheese pairing: Porter cheese
Music pairing:  The Carpenters, "Rainy Days and Mondays"