Monday, March 12, 2012

Beer #37 to 49

I am a little behind in the blogging part but I am ahead of the game on keeping up with the calendar. Today is March 12, 2012 and and by now 72 new beers should have been consumed, well I have had 85! So lots of blogging to do, but that's OK, as long as the info is there and the list goal continues.

This group was tasted a while back, but lots of fun things in here. I'll keep most of it brief, with larger descriptions for the things that really stood out.

Beer #37: The Bruery Rugbrod
I've had this one sitting in the cellar since January 2011 when my "cousin" Caleb and I went to The Bruery for the first time. A group of guys were getting together for a tasting and this was the "nice" bottle I brought. I figured with a year of Age it would be starting to shine. Well as a matter of fact it was. We all really enjoyed this beer, nice Rye spice and lots of great malts. Some fruit came through at the finish and a nice "sparkling wine" effervescence rounded out the mouth feel.
Beer #38: Captain Lawrence 5 years Later
Shared at the same tasting as the Rugbrod. There was a clever story with this beer, but I don't recall what it was. Overall nice hops on the aroma and flavor with a very stout backbone, no carbonation and alcohol on the aroma as well.
Beer #39: Abita Jockamo IPA
I did't like this beer all that much. Definitely Abita's Weakest offering that I have tasted.
Way to much malt leading to a cloyingly sweet beer. Not enough hops, just over done.

Beer #40: Allagash White
This is how a Belgian Style White should taste. I like this beer a lot. Just well brewed.
Beer #41: Allagash Dubbel Ale
Another good Allagash beer, these don't need explanation, just well brewed Belgian Style beers.
Nice sweetness, good aroma, and very delicious.
Beer #42: Allagash Trippel
Really, this brewery is just shocking me. So good. Really nice mouthfeel, good banana and clove flavors but not as effervescent as a hefeweizen. Perfect summer beer, all BBQ's this summer will have this and Allagash White present.
Beer #43: Pretty Things Field Mouse's Farewell
Spicy, smooth mouthfeel from the oats and rye. The goal this year was to try more Belgian styles and this just is another great example of what American's can do when they attempt Belgian styles. These Pretty Things beers are quite expensive; tasty, yes but the price just is a little prohibitive for this to be something I have on a regular basis.

Beer #44: Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 2011
Still pretty hoppy for my Barleywine preference. The alcohol is softening and the Barley is starting to become more apparent but, I still would prefer less hop to it. We'll see what another year does!
Beer #45: Rogue Voodoo Maple Doughnut
This seemed like a beer that would be up Jame's Alley, so I opened with him. This beer is brewed with Cherrywood, and a variety of other smoked woods. Smoked Bacon and Maple Flavoring. Very odd beer, not disgusting, didn't drain pour it, but very odd. Lots of smoke and bacon on the aroma, maple comes through as additional sweetness on the taste. Bought it because I like what Voodoo Doughnuts is, and the bottle was really cool...
Beer #46: Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 2012
If 2011 is still too hoppy for me. This is out of hand. I love this beer every year, it is always delicious but this year it is a major hop bomb. I've had it now on tap and in bottle and the tap really softens the hops. In the bottle it's pretty intense in the hop department. I love it, but to be all it can be... needs two to three years of age.
Beer #47: Stone Old Guardian 2012
This is what Barleywine should taste like when freshly bottled. Lots of alcohol, big roasty malt flavors, light hops and the only expectation with age is mellowing of the heat. I like this beer and can't wait to see what the other two bottles will be like in two and three years.
Beer #48: Mission St 2012 Anniversary Ale
Mission Street is Brewed by Firestone and they make this imperial brown every year. This year (according to a Firestone employee) the beer is a blend of Walkers Reserve (which makes sense) and Double DBA. A fine blend with nice alcohol levels, some oak and Porter like finish. If Pretty Things is price Prohibitive, this beer is the polar opposite. At $3.99 a bottle it is a remarkable deal.
Beer #49: Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Grand Cru
I've been saving this one for about a year and a half. I wanted something unique, big and out of the Cellar. So I opened this one up. The Alcohol has mellowed quite nicely, and the flavors are just wonderfully blending. Need to replenish the cellar as we have plenty of this at Old Town Market.
That's it for now. It probably is already too long. I'll add some more next week.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Beer #27 to #36

Well... I am making progress, but still 5 beers behind... need a brewery tour or something to sort that out.

Beer #27 - New Belgium Cocoa Mole
What a fun new to me beer. I have been really surprised by these pepper "infused" beers this year. I hope I keep stumbling upon them. This one is so deep in chocolate smells and tastes and then just hits as hard as it can with spicy chili peppers. The aroma makes this beer great, it's like sticking your nose in baking chocolate, very strong and bitter smells.

Beer #28 - New Belgium Biere De Mars
Almost not even worth writing about. It was OK, didn't taste bad, but not at all very interesting. I had this while cooking dinner thinking it would be a nice pairing with the roasted chicken I made. It had no interesting flavor, a little Belgian funk but not much else. Come on New Belgium, give me another La Folie!
Beer #29 - Firestone §acuba (beer formerly known as Abacus)
I had this one on tap at Firestone's restaurant in Buellton. Last year at this time I took a group of friends down there almost entirely to taste Abacus. It blew my mind and everyone else's that tasted it last year as well. This year, no disappointment. It is fantastic. Tons of boozy aromas and flavors from the bourbon barrel and lots of fruit flavors like last year. I can't wait to try it from the bottle and sit on two or a dozen to see how the age in the coming years.  (Picture taken from Bottle purchased as a gift for Larissa's birthday)
Beer #30 - Green Flash Le Freak
The Label states this is a convergence of styles, Belgian Trippel and American IPA. Yes exactly. Light in color like a trippel, zesty yeast flavors; clove comes through strongly, cardamon, and then HOPS. Glorious HOPS! This was a great brew, looking forward to future bottles of this one. Well brewed and clean.
Beer #31 Great Divide - Old Ruffian
I suppose now is a good time to deal with the issue of aged beers. This beer is from November 2010 (bottled date), I believe I have had this beer once before when I first heard about Great Divide, so it isn't a new beer, but the issue is going to keep coming up; aged beer counts as a "new, never before tasted" beer. This one is a classic Barleywine. Lots of sweet malts, the alcohol has subsided during the aging process, just good clean flavors that are big and bold and delicious.
Beer #32 - Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock
I have been trying to recall this beer. And I didn't take good enough notes on it. I know it was dark and malty, but as I recall had a little bit of that lager wateriness, not as full bodied as some of the better Doppel/Dubbel's I have had. But still, genuine German brewed, it can't be all bad.
Beer #33 - Fuller's Vintage Ale 2011
Best English brewed beer I have ever had. Sometimes the conversion of sugar in English brewed ESB's gets really weird/astringently bitter, but this was darn near perfect. I can't believe how well balanced between hop and sweet malt this beer is. I really like this beer and I am excited to see how my 2008 bottle has turned out (look for that review soon). This beer is still lingering at OTM, make sure to go get some if you're a Santa Maria Local, it comes in a Burgundy box.
 Beer #34 - Russian River Supplication
I have had this beer before, but only a couple ounces and it was on tap. The opening of this beer was unique, as it was in a bottle. The beer was wonderful. Quite sour with a little malt sweetness to balance and subdue the cherries and oak. At first taste I had just brushed my teeth and had to have some cashews to fix the taste. The beer is wonderful. Try it if you dare. I shared this with my Dad, mum made Chicken Picatta and the flavors from the meal just mellowed out the sourness and made this beer shine.
Beer #35 - Mikkeller Invasion IPA
A decent IPA. Nothing life changing here. Good sweetness which you come to expect in a Double IPA. As I shared with my new friend Mike and AJ, I commented on how, the hops just didn't feel prevalent enough. They were not powerful enough to balance the malts sweetness. Good, but try and drink fresh, I think this was brewed in December 2011.
Beer #36 - Great Divide - Fresh Hop Pale
This beer was enjoyed after a very fresh, very strong Mammoth 395 IPA which has a lot of lovely Juniper flavors so it was hard for this one to live up to the previous. That being said, I think this was suffering the same problem as the MIkkeller, it was bottled on October 21, 2011 and was not hoppy, it had a little citrus to it but was mostly grassy/earthy/doughy. To me it smelled like pizza, Mike then connected that to Pizza dough, then Rosanne said cheese, and the beer ultimately smelled like pizza... Which isn't bad, but not what i was looking for. The taste was muted, and washed out, wish I had looked at the date prior to purchase.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Beer #13 through #26

#13: Widmer Galaxy Hopped Barleywine
Good, but not great. Got this when in Oregon last July. Nice strong beer, held up over night finished the next day.

#14: Rochefort 8
Another fantastic beer from the Trappists. I really enjoyed this one as much as 10, I look forward to having them side by side sometime this year.

#15: Greenflash Fizzy Yellow Beer (tap)
This is a SD brewed Lager/pils. It was really easy drinking, nice light sessionable beer. This beer plays on the slogan Stone uses against Bud/Miller/Coors.

#16: Brouwery Bockor CuvĂ©e des Jacobins Rouge (tap)
Glorious on tap sour beer from Belgium. I thought it was just sour enough and had a very strong malt, almost cherry/red backbone. I am so excited one my distributors for OTM sells this beer and I'll get to have it again soon.

#17: Port Brewing F.N.G. (tap at Lost Abbey)
Everyone can guess the F, the N and G are for New Guy. I am sure there is a good story here. The beer was great, just an everyday semi-hoppy American Pale. Nothing extravagant.

#18: Bootlegger's Knuckle Sandwich (tap)
This gives Hellhound an even further run for its money. Really good Double IPA. So smooth, no heat from the alcohol just malty hoppy goodness. Could have had another 2 or three but moved on to other things.

#19: Port Brewing Slap and Tickle (growler)
Advertised as Pale on the bar wall, this is a massive IPA. So hoppy on the aroma. Very good beer. Had another glass after the growler had been opened a day and it was much more approachable in aroma.

#20: Port Brewing High Tide IPA
This is Port's Fresh Hop IPA. One of the distrubitors recently got this beer and so we brought it into Old Town Market. Really good. Better than Mongo (their other IPA). The only thing that caught me off guard is there was this weird Rubbing Alcohol taste just briefly on the palette after it had been opened. It went away, but still I probably wont be buying a ton of this given that off flavor.

#21: Kern River Winter Ale
A excellent Rye Ale. No heavy handed hops here. Just good balanced malt and lots of smoothness from the Rye. Not a lot of spice. This is another winner from Kern, and I look forward to having the other one stashed in my fridge.

#22: New Belgium Dig
Dad and I split a six pack of this new Season from New Belgium while cooking for a bunch of cowboys while they were branding. Definitely an American Style Pale Ale with some very earthy hops that tie the name of the beer to the flavor of the beer.

#23: Weihenstphaner Vitus
Weizenbock brewed in Germany. I had this after beer tasting Friday night. So the taste is a little clouded by everything else that was happening with my tastebuds Friday. As I recall, this beer was fantastic. I look forward to having it again.

#24: St. Bernardus Abt 12
Another great Belgian beer. Solid malt flavors and light hops. Lots of Alcohol and lots of flavor.

#25: Kern River's 5th Anniversary.
This is the best Double IPA of the year thus far. Knuckle Sandwich, as delicious as it was and Hellhound with all it's lemony uniqueness has nothing on the elegance that this beer presents to the drinker. What a wonderful combination of sweet and hop. I have a hard time believing, even the most avid hop hater, would not enjoy this beer. Fantastic. Glad their is one more to share with Ron.

#26: Samuel Adams Alpine Spring
New seasonal release from Sam Adams. No complaints. Another remarkably fresh lager from Sam Adams

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Beer #12 - Rogue Chocolate Stout

A little twist on the pattern so far. Beer number 12 comes out of the beer tasting I hosted at Old Town Market on Friday night. I am pretty confident it was the only beer that was new to me at this Tasting, as I have had quite a few of Rogue's beers over the years.

This one, I actually really enjoyed. It was very comparable to a beer I had earlier in the week that I was hoping to blog about but realized later that I had enjoyed one in the past, so I don't get to write about it. The other beer was Oak Aged Yeti from Great Divide. The two beers shared one thing. Chocolate. There was a lot of chocolate on the nose and front of the palate for both of these beers. Really the kind of beer that needs to be paired with something that goes great with chocolate, not necesarrly paired with chocolate. When Trevor and I opened the Yeti we paired with chocolate bock brownies and it almost ruined the beer for me. All the delicious sweetness and chocolate flavors almost disappeared when paired next to the very sweet brownie. So as I tasted Rogue's stout throughout the night the more clear it became that this needs to go with something that compliments chocolate. So as soon as I can get a fresh case back at OTM I plan to really start to think about what this needs to go with. I am thinking roasted Marshmallows and graham crackers would be just about perfect.

I forgot to take a picture today so I'll just hijack one from someone else's blog.

and source:

Beer #11 - Mikkeller Santa's Little Helper 2011

I have had this beer in my fridge since the beginning of December, and all during the Holidays I was planning on opening it. The time never seemed just quite right so in my fridge it sat.

Thursday night this week, I really wanted to have something strong; I also wanted to have something I hadn't ever had (as I was recognizing that i was falling behind on the blog). I decided I'd share this bottle with myself, poured most of it in to my Duvel Tulip and sat down for deep pontification of life and beer.

This beer was fantastic. Sometimes Mikkeller over does it, he thinks that because he is a "gypsy brewer" he can be all hipster and do funky weird ass things that no one really enjoys. Then there are beers like this. He is a clearly a great brewer, there have only been a few things that I have had that fall into the "what the heck were you thinking" category. This one was quite nice. The belgian spices were perfectly balanced with the darker colored malts, and the alcohol was just there to remind you that you need to be careful with this one.
If you can still find it around, I highly recommend picking one up. Sit on it a year or drink fresh.

Beer #10 - Westmalle Dubbel

I purchased this as part of a gift I put together for someone for Christmas. The concept was to put 4 new beers in his hands, in a style that he likes, but wouldn't likely venture too far from what he knows. Three of the beers purchased were things I had never had either so I bought those three in doubles. This was the first of that group. As usual with Trappist beers, you know they are going to be delicious before you even pry the lid off. These brewers are the brewers of history. They've been making beer in monasteries for centuries and it is generally safe to say, that they've perfected the craft.

That being said, Westmalle's Dubbel did not disappoint. Dark and malty, strong in alcohol but not strong in alcohol taste (it warmed as it went down but didn't taste "hot"). Not a lot of hops here, some nice funk from the yeast but nothing offensive. The friend I arranged the 4 pack for has now had it, and disliked it as it warmed because more of those funky yeast esters come out as the beer warms. I thought it was great and I probably drank it too fast.
This one really needs to be paired with food. It's special and needs to be found paired along side of something that you don't have everyday. I think next Christmas I'll be having one of these with the Prime Rib.

Beer #9 - Stone Vertical Epic 11.11.11

Last years beer from the vertical epic series (that will come to an end at 12.12.12) was very unique. It was medium colored beer with a belgian style malt and yeast style but taken to a new level with the addition of Cinnamon and Anaheim Chillies added to the beer. I really enjoyed this beer, I shared with Zach and Lindsey, it reminded them of a Jalepeno jelly they like. It reminded of something I at or drank during the month of december, but for the life of me I can't pin point it. 
As with all beers that I am aging, I am looking forward to trying this in a couple years.