Monday, February 27, 2006

John Harvard's Brew House Demon DPA

This beer came to me in a hand bottled 22oz bomber courtesy of my BA buddy warriorsoul. I flew it back here from my trip to Boston for the Beer Advocate Extreme Beer Fest earlier this month. Of course, I wasted no time digging into my goodies and this one was yet another tasty brew:




The Demon DPA pours from the bomber a deep, glowing amber, reddish orange with a nice frothy, bubbly off white head along with spotty lacing. Aromas of sweet, slightly caramelly malt are cloaked by a big blast of citric, piney hoppiness. Grapefruit, peach, orange and pine needles converge on each other in a lovely hoppy amalgamation. Lovely resinous goodness.

First sip brings a solid bready, carmalized maltiness upfront followed quickly by a rush of citrusy, piney hop flavors. Grapefruit essence comes to my mind first. There's a nice sweet malt background to balance out the hop bitterness in this brew, wonderful balance. Finishes clean with a nice lingering hoppiness and a latent biscuity aspect. A solid, tasty brew.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth with just enough carbonation. Goes down easily, satisfying this beer lover without a doubt. This is my first exposure to John Harvard's brew and I'm impressed by this one. Quite drinkable, hopefully I'll be able to sample it again sometime. Thanks to warriorsoul for the bottle!

I gave this beer an overall score of 4.35 out of 5. My breakdowns were:
-Appearance: 4
-Smell: 4.5
-Taste: 4.5
-Mouthfeel: 4
-Drinkability: 4.5

Check out John Harvard's by surfing over to www.johnharvards.com

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Great Lakes Holy Moses

Great Lakes Brewing Company is located in Cleveland, Ohio and is arguably one of the best microbreweries in the Midwest. I've enjoyed almost all the brews they've put out..Edmund Fitzgerald, Burning River, Nosferatu, Blackout Stout and more. This is their witbier, Holy Moses:



Holy Moses pours from the 12oz brown bottle a hazy sunny yellow with a taut bubbly white head. Aromas of pale sun-dried grains along with a zesty coriander and citric conglomeration. Yeasty, mildly peppery phenols waft upwards along with a mild sour aroma. It comes off fresh and vibrant which is always good!

First sip brings a lemon zesty pale wheat that carries plenty of coriander flavor as well as citrusy tones. Mellow pepper and cloves mix in and the yeastiness makes itself known on the way down. Crisp and a bit dry, there's a great meeting of flavors here. Another nice brew from GLBC.

Mouthfeel is smooth and rather light with a plentiful blast of co2. This would make a great summer time brew and I could see a sixer going down quite easily. A nice wit and one I'll look for again in the future.

Gave this one a 4.05 out of 5. An all around good witbier and another one to look out for from Great Lakes!

Check out more at www.greatlakesbrewing.com

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Rapscallion Creation



The Rapscallion Creation pours into my tulip glass a deep ruddy brown with streaks of garnet and a half inch of khaki colored head on top of the brew. Aromas of dark baked bread along with fruity, black cherry tones. Molasses, cinammon, cocoa and spice are there along with an earthy yeast tone. Roasty with a touch of nuttiness. Enjoyable.

First sip brings a dark, roasted, bready maltiness upfront with a nice melding of dark fruit flavors. Cinammon, molasses and spicy yeast character works in midway through each sip of this brew. There's a sprinkle of cocoa powder as well. Finishes quite fruity with a touch of sweetness on the way down. An interesting brew for sure, alcohol is well hidden.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a bit slick with plenty of carbonation. A fairly filling brew but it goes down smoothly. I could see myself definetly having this again. A tasty brew that has lots of unique character, for some reason the yeast makes me think of Unibroue. Thanks to MuddyFeet for the chance to sample this one. Hopefully I'll cross paths with this beer again sometime!

This beer garnered a 3.85 out of 5 from me. A unique, tasty brew.

Check out what else is brewing at Concord Brewery by surfing to www.concordbrew.com

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Goose Island Matilda

Here's another beer from the rotating Goose Island Reserve line. This one comes in four packs and I'm not sure if there's any left on the shelves around Chicagoland at all. Still...it's worth lookin out for and will be brewed again as far as I know!




The Matilda pours from the bottle a deep orange/peach color with a touch of brown as well. A nice bubbly, foamy half inch of white head develops on top of the brew. Aromas of sour candied fruits hits me initially, apple, pear and lemon. Sweet pale malts collide with an earthy, musty yeast aroma and a mix of some herbal, spicy hops as well. A touch of clove and some pepper. Almost medicinal. Quite an intriguing aroma overall.

First sip brings a sweet, fruity pale maltiness with a blast of earthy, slightly funky yeast. Soured apple juice swirls around with cloves and cracked pepper. Quite fruity in the middle with a touch of herbal, spicy, grassy hops on the way down. The yeast seems to give off a very herbal, floral vibe throught the brew. Good balance between sweet and sour, this is another tasty brew in the GI reserve line.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with a strong blast of carbonation that dashes across the palate. Goes down fairly easy at 7% and each sip keeps me coming back for more. I wouldn't mind enjoying a few of these in a sitting. Worth seeking out and trying I'd say.

Overall I gave this brew a 3.9 out of 5. Check out everything Goose Island by surfin on over to www.gooseisland.com

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Bert Grant's Imperial Stout

Well, I attempted to review this one on Beer Advocate, but unfortunately the brewery has been closed and it's no longer an option. So, I will pen my notes here on a beer and brewery I'll probably never have to chance to sample from again. So, here goes:



The Imperial Stout pours from the bottle a deep onyx black, slighty thick with a quarter inch of dark tan head sitting nicely atop the brew. Aromas of dark roasted malts coupled with a nice bitter coffee. There's plenty of sweet chocolate in the mix as well. A well placed citrusy hop lingers in the background. Quite a nice brew so far.

First sip brings a nice rush of dark, roasty, slight burnt maltiness accentuated by plenty of bitter coffee flavors and a nice chocolatey tone. A hint of hops sneaks in there on the way down as the brew finishes with a nice, slightly dry sweetness. A nice stout overall.

Mouthfeel is nice and chewy, this makes its presence known. Definetly full bodied and and enjoyable brew. At 6% it would be easy to enjoy a few of these in a sitting. It's really too bad the brewery is closed and this is a tasty brew that will be missed.

Overall I gave this one a 4.0 out of 5. If you see any more of this on the shelves I suggest you buy it up and enjoy it!

Poperings Hommel Bier



After previously having this on tap I'm interested to see how the bottle fares. Pours from the 11.2oz bottle a deep dark orange with a bountiful inch of craggly foam atop the brew. Strings of lacing decorate the glass as I inhale and get notes of sweet, fruity pale malts along with a hefty portion of herbal, grassy hops. The hops are really nice and vibrant, even a touch floral in the aroma.

First sip brings a crisp, pale fruity maltiness with a touch of graininess in there as well. Intertwined is a wonderful green, herbal hop presence that magnifies as it goes down. Hints of citrus and floral tones emerge. Wonderfully balanced with a great hop utilization. This is just a tasty brew all around.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. Goes down easy and keeps me coming back for more. I wouldn't complain if this was produced in 750ml bottles! A hoppy Belgian brew that's well worth tracking down and trying.

This one weighed in at a 4.1 out of 5. Well worth seeking out, especially if you enjoy hops and Belgian beers!

See what else Brouwerij Van Eecke N.V. has to offer by clicking over to http://www.brouwerijvaneecke.tk/

Anchor Bock Beer

Anchor Bock was only released in the San Fransisco area for the most part. It was a small run last year and I've heard it will be back again this year. I was able to score a 22oz bomber bottle of this one in trade with a fellow BA from California. Here we go:

The Anchor Bock pours from the 22oz bottle a deep chestnut brown with a nice half inch of foamy khaki head atop the brew. When held up to the light the deep blood red streaks shine through. Aromas of deep roasted dark & chocolate malts with a strong dark fruit aroma. Black cherries mix with raisins, molasses and a touch of caramel. A tad bit burnt with hops chilling in the background. Nice!

First sip brings a nice, slightly sweet roasted malt upfront Notes of chocolate, dark fruits and burnt toast emerge. There's some raisins and molasses in the middle. Toasted toffee finish with only a touch of hops and a dry grain husk aftertaste. Malty madness all the way that's really quite tasty.



Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied with a slight creaminess and good carbonation. Fills the mouth nicely and satisfies the beer craving without incident. This is a bock I'd look for more often if it was available. Hopefully Anchor will put this out again with wider distribution. Another feather in the cap of one of the original microbrewers! Thanks to irishsnake for the opportunity!

Overall I gave this one a 3.95 out of 5. Quite a tasty bock.

Check out everything else Anchor related at www.anchorbrewing.com

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

AleSmith IPA

AleSmith is one of those small California breweries that unfortunately doesn't make it out to Illinois distribution wise. They produce some phenomenal beers including Yulesmith and Speedway Stout. This bottle came from another one of my BeerAdvocate trading buddies, and boy am I glad he was able to send it on to me!



Glad this one is finally in my hands as I've been wanting to try it for awhile now. Pours from the bomber a lovely bright amber orange/peach color with a half inch of bubbly off white head that leaves sticky spots of lacing on my glass. Inviting! Aromas begin with a wall of rich, resinous hops exhibiting pine sap, citric and light floral aromas. Images of rubbing fresh picked hops through my fingers comes to mind. A sweet crystal, lightly caramelly malt background is present as well. Just a lovely blending of tropical, citrusy and piney hop goodness. Enchanting.

First sip brings a rich, resinous, green candy hop blast with big citrus and pine flavors exploding all over the place. Such a condensed fresh from the vine hop flavor here, yum. The hops are backed up by a sturdy sweet crystal maltiness that has a slight toasted bread flavor. It finishes with a flow of bitterness that leaves a lingering hoppiness. Alcohol is nowhere to be found, this is just a stellar IPA all around.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth and a bit creamy. The mellow carbonation makes it so easy to consume and the bomber empties all too soon. An awesome brew that I'd drink way more often if it was available. Count yourself lucky if you can get Alesmith at your local! Thanks to blitheringidiot for hookin me up with another great beer.

This beer garnered a 4.55 out of 5 from me. Simply a wonderful IPA that nearly can't be beat.

AleSmith has plenty of fine beery offerings for you to enjoy...find them all at www.alesmith.com

Sprecher Generation Porter



The Generation Porter, celebrating 20 years of brewing at Sprecher, pours from the 16oz bottle a nice black bordering on dark brown with a half inch of bubbly tan head atop the brew. Ruby highlights streak out when the light hits the glass. Aromas of chocolate roasted grains meld with a sweet caramel. A bit burnt with a raspberry syrup undertone. Smells sweet but is overall a little underwhelming.

First sip brings a dark, roasted maltiness that has a nice cocoa flavor along with some sweet caramel tones as well. A really mellow, light raspberry flows underneath. It finishes fairly dry with a hint of sourness and a bit of a burnt flavor as well. Ultimately this brew just fails to really grab my attention.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with fast paced carbonation. It's a bit on the thinner side and does go down smooth. Unfortunately, the flavor just seems a bit weak and nothing really stands out here. Not one I'd personally seek out again.

Overall I gave this porter a 3.2 out of 5. Pretty average in my opinion, but still worth a try if you're a fan of Sprecher and/or fruit brews.

www.sprecherbrewery.com has more info on their full line of ales, lagers and sodas!

Dominion Oak Barrel Stout

Let me quickly preface this review by saying that I'm a big fan of barrel aged beers in general. The barrel can take a particular beer and turn it into something else entirely. Sometimes the results are magnificent and sometimes not so much...either way I always like to taste what happens. I picked this one up in Ohio on a trip back from Kentucky.



The Dominion Oak Barrel Stout, fermented with vanilla beans and oak chips, pours from the longneck bottle a nice deep, dark black with a small tan head that falls to a ring around the glass. Aromas of big vanilla upfront alongside a roasty, somewhat lactic chocolate. Some bitter coffee works into the mix and I can get hints of the oak as I inhale as well. However, it all seems to collide on the way to my nose.

First sip brings a dark roasted malt upfront with hints of cocoa and mellow coffee tones. The blast of vanilla flavor isn't far behind and works its way across the length of the palate. I get a bit of sour lactic twang halfway through each sip. Subtle woodiness is there but it's more of an afterthought in the brew. The vanilla gets to be a bit overwhelming for me.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a spritzy carbonation. It's a little thinner than I'd like for a stout, but still manages to carry itself well. Unfortunately, this really doesn't stand up against true barrel aged stouts. It's a bit muddled and somewhere along the line the flavors just don't do it for me. Check it out for yourself, as your mileage may vary.

Music: Luomo - Tessio (Moonbootica Radio Edit)

Overall I gave this brew a 3.15 out of 5.

Check out what else is up at Old Dominion Brewing by surfing over to www.olddominion.com

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sierra Nevada India Pale Ale

Imagine my suprise when I found out that one of my favorite breweries, Sierra Nevada, out of Chico, California was coming out with a new bottled offering! As soon as I heard they were bottling the India Pale Ale I was extremely eager to try it. Suffice to say, as soon as I found a six pack I promptly purchased it and twisted the cap off to see what was inside...

I was happy to see this one on the shelves today. I love Sierra Nevada and can't help but get excited when I see a new, fresh brew from them. It pours from the bottle a lovely clear amber orange with a healthy frothy bubbly two finger head. Intricate lacing develops as it sits...quite nice! Aromas of some toasty, slightly nutty malts with a dash of caramel and a healthy helping of piney, earthy, herbal hops. Mellower candy-like citrus tones are there as well. Solid.



First sip brings a smooth, toasted malt upfront that has a underlying caramel sweetness. Roasted grains meld with a bit of nuttiness. This is followed by a nice earthy, herbal hop character, in which lurks some pine and citrus spice. It brings the image of fresh hop cones to my mind. Per the Sierra website they use Magnum early and then Goldings for the finishing and dry hop. Probably one of the tastiest English IPA's I've sampled. Simply another solid brew from SN.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth and creamy with steady carbonation. This is tasty and supremely drinkable brew. I hope this stays in the SN rotation as I can see myself drinking large quantities of it. Even at 6.9%, I don't think I'd have much of a problem sitting down to a nice session. Now I'm just waiting for '06 Bigfoot to show up!

Music: Dub Taylor And Vital - Your Soul (Casino Royale Mix)

Overall I gave this SN brew a 4.1 out of 5. One of my new favorite English IPA's.

Check out all over the good stuff happening at Sierra by clicking onto www.sierranevada.com

Panil Barriquée

This here is a Flanders Red style ale that has recently starting to be imported into the United States via the Shelton Brothers. This one happens to come from the small Panil brewery in Italy and it's the only Flanders Red I know of that is produced in Italy. It carries a hefty price tag of around $20 for a 750ml bottle, but being the sour beer loving crazy guy I am, I simply had to try it.



My bottle features a blue and purple label with a white drawn oak barrel. Bottled in 2005, the interesting cap has a small embedded plastic cork that gave a healthy pop when I got it off. Pours from the bottle a deep dark brown with tons of garnet hues. Very mellow carbonation creates only a small bubbly head that becomes a ring around the glass with spotty lacing. Aromas hit before I even pick up the glass. Sour cherries and oak collide with a sweet burnt caramel, brown sugar note underneath. A bit funky with some vinegar-esque acidity in the nose. The mix of sweet, sour and wood aromas is quite tantalizing. Simply a lovely aroma.

First sip brings a mix of sweet, warm caramel notes along with a blast of slightly puckering sour cherry. Dry, earthy woody oak flavors flow throughout the length of each sip. A bit vinous in character, I'm enjoying the interplay between the sweet and sour sides of this brew. Fairly acidic with a steady sharp, earthy yeast flavor throught. The subtle funkiness reminds me of a nice lambic. With each sip I can envision the barrel containing this brew, sitting in a dark corner in the brewery, slowly awaiting the day it will be ready to be bottled. Yum.

Mouthfeel is smooth and a bit slick with a really mellow carbonation that allows it to slide across the palate and into my beer lovin stomach. Quite the tasty flanders red here. It's easy to sit and adore a 750ml bottle of this fine Italian brew. Well worth the bigger price tag, Panil deserves praise for creating a truly tasty beer. Thanks to Shelton for bringing this over to the sour beer lovers like me in the US. Now that the bottle is almost gone....it's time to seek out more!

This beer garnered a 4.25 out of 5 from me. Check out their website by surfing on over to www.panilbeer.com

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Guinness Foreign Extra Stout

Well, I've been quite lazy about updating my blog lately so I have a bit of a backlog of reviews to put up. I tend to drink a new beer just about every day and I just can't help but share my thoughts on all of them :-). This one is Guinness Foreign Extra Stout..it's an export stout produced by Guinness that unfortunately doesn't make it into the US, as in my eyes it's much better than the standard Guinness we get around here. This weighs in at 7.5% abv and goes down like so:



This 33cl bottle of Guinness Foregin Extra Stout pours into my tulip glass a viscous, deep dark charcoal black with a sweet two finger creamy tan head on top. When held up to the light..pitch blackness...leaving sticky trails of lacing as well. Sweet! Aromas of roasted, slighty smoky dark malts with a slight lactic, cream undercurrent. Bitter coffee mingles with a touch of chocolate and a hint of dark fruit.

First sip brings a smooth, roasty dark maltiness that has a creamy feel to it and a slight sour twang. The bitter coffee comes in midway through along with some smoky chocolate notes. A little fruity, this is really a nice smooth, creamy stout. Finishes with a bit of lingering bitterness. Quite a depth of flavor when compared to the US version.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with a medium body. Still, this is not a heavy stout by any means and it goes down with ease. If I could get this one around here...I'd buy it more often. They really should export this to the US! Thanks to dmeadows for the opportunity to sample another side of Guinness.

Overall this brews gets a score of 3.8 out of 5.

Point and click your mouse on www.guinness.com for more info on Guinness Ltd.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Victory V-Saison

I was lucky enough to have an east coast buddy send me a few bottles of this brew. Saison is one of my favorite styles and I'm always interested to see what American brewers will come up with, as this has been a traditionally European style. Victory is one of my favorite brewers..producing such beers as Hop Wallop, Hop Devil, Storm King, Prima Pils, Old Horizontal, Golden Monkey and many more. Let's pop the cork and see what happens.

I've been looking forward to this saison from Victory for awhile now. Big 750ml corked and caged bottle. Bottled on April 1, 2005. The cork pops with a big 'ol champagne pop as wisps of smoke come out the top. Pours into my glass a cloudy golden yellow sun color with a nice bubbly creamy white head on top that lingers on. Aromas of light sun dried wheaty grains coated in lemon zest. Light citrus abounds alongside an underlying lightly peppery spiciness. The earthy, almost musty yeast shines through in the nose and gives it that special farmhouse appeal. Herbal, floral hops make an appearance as well. Light and airy.



First sip brings a rush of citrus laced pale, grainy maltiness with ample notes of lemon, orange and a hint of apple. Wheat husk blends with a laid back peppery spiciness. The earthy, slightly funky, musty yeastiness really adds to my enjoyment of this brew. Crisp and clean with some herbal, flowery hops that bring a slight bitterness on the way down. This is a tasty, fruity saison with a touch of spice. Yet another enjoyable Victory brew.

Mouthfeel is light and creamy with a blast of fast moving carbonation that dashes across the palate. Flavorful and refreshing...I would love to pop the cork on this on a hot sunny day, beachside. The 750 will dissapear into my beer loving stomach with ease. One of the better stateside brewed saisons I've sampled...well worth seeking out if you're a fan of the style. I'm glad I have another one to hang onto! Thanks to my buddy blitheringidiot for being kind enough to send these my way!

Overall I gave this brew a 4.15 out of 5. Good stuff.

Check out what else Bill and Ron are brewing up by surfing to www.victorybeer.com