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. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Beer #8 - Ommegang Gnomegang

1/9/12 - Ommegang Gnomegang

This brew is a Belgian Blonde. Again, shared a portion of this beer with my roommate; it was 9.5% and between Stoic and Gnomegang, the beers caught me by surprise.

This one was nice, it was an easy drinking beer from a 9.5% beer. I like the malt flavors, the yeasts were mild but there in the finished product. The aroma was quite boring. Worth trying if you're looking for a good Belgian Blonde, and you can't find Russian Rivers Damnation.

Beer #7 - Deschutes The Stoic

1/9/2012- Deschutes The Stoic
Shared this 11% monster of a beer with my roommate Jon Gee. Neither of us have ever experience a beer with an aroma like this beer. It was wonderful, it smelled like Lavender, Rose Water, tobacco, all kinds of crazy, but it all worked so well.

The taste was like non-aromatic pipe tobacco. Lots of "smokey" flavors that probably came through the Rye Whiskey barrels that it hung out in for a portion of it's life. Also lots of fruity flavors from the Red wine barrels that held it as well. Really great beer, Looking forward to seeing what the other two I have turn out like in a few years.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Year in Beer - v6

1/7/2012 - Left Coast Voodoo American Stout
My friend Trevor Carpenter fell in love with this beer this week. My friends Paul and Manette picked me up a bottle so I could give it a try. I opened it up last night.

Initial aromas and tastes were are a little chemically. Which isn't a good thing. I am pretty sure this taste was from the hops, and both the aroma and flavor mellowed after the first sip. I do like this stout, if you can make it past that weird initial flavor, then it starts to be just a nice bitter, well hopped stout with a great chocolate malt backbone. Not the most legendary beer I've ever had but definitely worth trying. I will probably buy this when I am looking for a nice easy going, strong stout with a little hop to it. The 8.5% caught me off guard and hit me pretty quick.

Year in Beer - v5

1/6/2012 - Duvel (Ommegang) Hennepin Saison
This is a great example of the Saison style. If you're looking to get into something new, this would be a good place to start. It has the barnyard funk that Saison tends to have but is so grassy that it is off putting. I liked how smooth the back of the pallet was, and that the funk was mostly at the front end of the beer.
Again a great entry saison, tastes how it should tastes, smells as it should smell; grassy, earthy, funky, but very enjoyable despite those aroma descriptors.

Year in Beer - v4

1/4/2012 - Dogfish Head Robert Johnson's Hell Hound
Kevin found this beer down in Fullerton at Total Wine. We had it prior to Trios Poules Francias and found that, at the end of the night we wished we had another of these rather than the Trios. This was an odd realization as we both love sours.
This was a double IPA brewed with lemon. The lemon was very subtle but was strong enough that it was noticeable in the flavor of the beer. Final ABV was 10%, and the alcohol was there in the taste but not over powering the delicious malts and hops. I wish we had bought a couple of these, as this was one of the best beers I've had this year.
If anyone finds more of it, please let me know...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Year in Beer - v3

1/4/2012 - The Bruery Trios Poules Francias - 2011
The Bruery makes some very interesting and complex beers, and they tend to be creative with how they name things as well. This is their "Three French Hens", which was originally brewed as part of the twelve year project, the "twelve beers of Christmas". Each year they brew the original beer and then barrel age a portion of it as well for release the following year.
So when they were selling it the week leading up to Christmas, I sent my friend Kevin to get a few bottles for us to age and try. We finally were able to get together and taste the beer together, this week.
The beer was barrel aged in wine barrels and with Central Coast Syrah grapes. This made for a lovely sour beer. It had a very nice malt backbone but the sour was quite strong. I didn't get a lot of wine flavor as the sour was so strong. Some alcohol came through, so I am thrilled to see what it is like after a couple years of aging.

Year in Beer - v2

1/2/2012 - Sierra Nevada's Ruthless Rye IPA
This lovely new Rye based IPA from one of my favorite California breweries is wonderful. As far as I have heard this will be replacing Glissade as their very early "spring" beer and as much as Aaron Carlberg will be disappointed by this, I am ecstatic.
I really enjoy Rye in beer; it adds an earthy aroma and flavor. At the end of the day just smooths out the malts and gives most beers made with it a very nice mouth feel.
In Sierra Nevada form, the beer comes forth with a brilliant fresh earth and flower aroma from the hops, and makes you excited to be having an IPA. It is a nice almost red color and and is gorgeous in the glass.
The taste was very dry due to the hops but still had that smooth mouth feel in the finish. I thought the balance between earthy malts, dryness from the hop bitterness, and smoothness made this a great new beer that I get to look forward to every year. Oh and the artwork is badass.

Year in Beer

I know this has been done, attempted and failed many times by many bloggers, better than myself... but this year I am going to try and taste 365 new beers. This is going to be tough as I have had a lot of beers over the last few years and finding new things in my region can sometimes be difficult.

So, we'll give it the whole Dutch "try".

This blog will include the first of the 6 beers I've had in 2012 thus far.

1/1/2012: Lost Abbey - Angel's Share Bourbon Barrel Aged - 2010 (maybe 2009)
This beer was very dark in color, had a fantastic rasin and brown sugar aroma split pretty nicely between two glasses. The beer was bottled in a Cork and Caged 275mL bottle and opened with very little hiss from carbonation. As the beer was poured it again revealed very little in the way of carbonation but wasn't flat, just not a lot of head.
I had heard rumors of this beer oxidizing and becoming infected and therefore not tasting the way it was expected to taste. This particular bottle was perfectly fine. Nice big, bold, boozy, stout with about 2 years of age on it. The alcohol was still quite prevelant, despite the age, but at a starting point of 12.5% ABV it isn't all that surprising that it still was a major flavor component. The booze was followed by a nice chocolate and coffee flavor and was a fantastic sipping beer. I think I enjoyed it more than Zach (who I shared it with) as he was driven to plow through it and get to a Firestone DBA. I really enjoyed this beer and I think I'll pick up the Brandy Aged 2011 vintage if I can still find it.