Monday, February 28, 2011

New Glarus Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale

New Glarus Brewing in New Glarus, WI has always been a favorite of mine. They consistently produce great beers and are always coming out with something new and exciting. Most of these beers are one-off creations that are released under their "Unplugged" series. This is the first Unplugged release of 2011 and is currently available in the great state of Wisconsin, as New Glarus only distributes in Wisconsin. Hey, it's a good excuse for a road trip!!! :)

Pours into my glass a deep amber bordering on cola with a quarter inch of white bubbles that quickly becomes a ring at the top of the glass. Great clarity. Aromas start with...bam! Big meaty smoke all over the place. Reminds me of a smoldering campfire in the summer. Beneath it lies a somewhat spicy crisp malt body with caramel accents. Earthy as well.

First sip brings semi-sweet malts upfront with a mix of caramel and spicy rye. Smoke kicks into high gear and rides across the palate, big, meaty and earthy. A touch fruity with a hint of sweetness on the back end. Rye and smoke linger on the finish. An intriguing ale to savor!

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. Good steady carbonation. Makes for a pretty good sipper. Overall this is a unique brew...smoke heavy with tasty rye in the mix. If you're a fan of smoked beers you'll probably like this, if not you should likely stay way. Cheers to New Glarus!

Overall, I give this brew a rating of Great. Wonderful smoked ale!

Check out the full line up and more history and news from New Glarus by surfing over to

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Firestone Walker Double Jack Imperial IPA

Firestone Walker Brewing Company is located in Paso Robles, CA and started brewing beer way back in 1996. They moved into their current Paso Robles facility in 2001. They brew a range of great beers and have been producing an anniversary beer for the last five years that features a careful blend of various barrel aged beers to create one final brew. It started with Firestone 10 and leads up to Firestone 14 which will be the current release.

The brewery just started distributing to the Chicagoland area and the new Double Jack Imperial IPA is one of the first to hit Illinois shelves. You should be able to find it at your local Binny's. I paid $7.99 for the 22oz bomber.

Pours into my glass a bright golden orange with crystalline clarity and a quarter inch of white bubbles leaving spotty lacing. Aromas are a bold mix of hops off the bat. Notes of citrus, bubblegum, grapefruit rind and tropical fruit. Sweet crisp malts on the backbone with green hop resin.

First sip brings the hops yet again. Citrus, grapefruit and tropical fruits along with bubblegum. A sweet crisp malt backbone with a kiss of caramel. Solid bitterness on the way down with lingering resinous hop flavors. Sweetness remains a tad high on the finish.

Mouthfeel is smooth with good carbonation and a bit of a slickness to it. Overall, this is a big hoppy brew, but it's somewhat on the sweet side for me and I'd like it a bit drier overall, as the sweetness is a bit much for a whole bomber. Looking forward to further Firestone brews.

Overall I give this brew a rating of Enjoyable.

Check out the full history and line up from Firestone Walker by surfing over to