June112014
Beer of the Week 195 - 6/11/2014: Russian River Salvation

Russian River is a powerhouse in the world of craft beer.  From making waves with their Pliny the Elder IPA and even more waves with their super hard to get Pliny the Younger, to their world class wild ales (Beatification, Supplication, Consecration), they have set themselves apart in the craft beer hierarchy.  So, it is only ftting to see how they are when it comes to making more common beer styles, like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale.  

Salvation pours a super dark, almost opaque brown (quite a murky brown) with some reddish highlights when placed near light.  A big, fluffy, 2 finger, tan head forms and retains quite well.  Nice lacing here too.  The aroma is standard form the style, but much richer.  Aromas of candy sugar, belgian spices, and loads of dark fruits.  Yeasty and bready with some slight licorice in there as well.  Really a nice nose.

The taste is nice.  Caramel, dark fruits, and lots of Belgian candy sugars.  Some toffee and booze come through strongly on the back end.  However, these flavors are a little subdued when compared to the nose.  There sure is quite a bit of carbonation, a little too much for my taste, and is a bit prickly on the tongue for a medium bodied beer.

Overall, Salvation is a very well done American made Belgian styled beer, and it was great to try another Belgian style offering from Vinnny and the crew.  I’ve passed this one so many times, I’m glad I finally picked it up.  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 195 - 6/11/2014: Russian River Salvation

Russian River is a powerhouse in the world of craft beer. From making waves with their Pliny the Elder IPA and even more waves with their super hard to get Pliny the Younger, to their world class wild ales (Beatification, Supplication, Consecration), they have set themselves apart in the craft beer hierarchy. So, it is only ftting to see how they are when it comes to making more common beer styles, like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

Salvation pours a super dark, almost opaque brown (quite a murky brown) with some reddish highlights when placed near light. A big, fluffy, 2 finger, tan head forms and retains quite well. Nice lacing here too. The aroma is standard form the style, but much richer. Aromas of candy sugar, belgian spices, and loads of dark fruits. Yeasty and bready with some slight licorice in there as well. Really a nice nose.

The taste is nice. Caramel, dark fruits, and lots of Belgian candy sugars. Some toffee and booze come through strongly on the back end. However, these flavors are a little subdued when compared to the nose. There sure is quite a bit of carbonation, a little too much for my taste, and is a bit prickly on the tongue for a medium bodied beer.

Overall, Salvation is a very well done American made Belgian styled beer, and it was great to try another Belgian style offering from Vinnny and the crew. I’ve passed this one so many times, I’m glad I finally picked it up. Cheers!

June42014
Beer of the Week 194 - 6/4/2014: Dogfish Head Olde School Barleywine (Vintage 2009)

Yes, yet another HUGE ABV Dogfish Head beer to review!  I have had this beer fresh, and man is it a hot, slcohol punch of a beer.  So, I decided to review this beer after aging it for 5 years - a time period I felt would hopefully be enough for some ofthe alcohol heat to subside.  This big, bold, 15% ABV American Barleywine is fermented with dates and figs - something barleywines aren’t normally made with.  

Olde School pours a murky, brownish copper color that at times is reddish when held to the light. A small eggshell white head forms but quickly recedes to a cap of the same color.  The aroma starts with a big sugary hit of sweet caramel and raisins.  Even though this is 5 years old, there is still a good hit of alcohol here and there.  Bready malts come through as well followed by some other fruity aromas.

The taste starts with a strong hit of figs, raisins, dates, and other sweet fruits.  Bready malts and caramel come next followed by some hints of alcohol.  Very rich and deep with sweeness being the main star of the flavors.  However, the warmer it gets, the more complex it becomes with some of the dark fruits coming through more and mixing more with the bready undertones.  This is a smooth beer with a moderate carbonation.  The body of the beer feels medium to me, but with the thickness and syrupy flavors of the beer, it comes across more of a full bodied beer.

If you want a big, sweet beer, this one is for you.  It is a big beer, but aging seems to be a must on this one if you don’t want it to be a big, hot punch when you drink it fresh.  Dogfsh Head loves making these big beers, but I wonder if they are sacrificing favor and balance for higher ABV.  Either way, I like what aging has done to this one.  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 194 - 6/4/2014: Dogfish Head Olde School Barleywine (Vintage 2009)

Yes, yet another HUGE ABV Dogfish Head beer to review! I have had this beer fresh, and man is it a hot, slcohol punch of a beer. So, I decided to review this beer after aging it for 5 years - a time period I felt would hopefully be enough for some ofthe alcohol heat to subside. This big, bold, 15% ABV American Barleywine is fermented with dates and figs - something barleywines aren’t normally made with.

Olde School pours a murky, brownish copper color that at times is reddish when held to the light. A small eggshell white head forms but quickly recedes to a cap of the same color. The aroma starts with a big sugary hit of sweet caramel and raisins. Even though this is 5 years old, there is still a good hit of alcohol here and there. Bready malts come through as well followed by some other fruity aromas.

The taste starts with a strong hit of figs, raisins, dates, and other sweet fruits. Bready malts and caramel come next followed by some hints of alcohol. Very rich and deep with sweeness being the main star of the flavors. However, the warmer it gets, the more complex it becomes with some of the dark fruits coming through more and mixing more with the bready undertones. This is a smooth beer with a moderate carbonation. The body of the beer feels medium to me, but with the thickness and syrupy flavors of the beer, it comes across more of a full bodied beer.

If you want a big, sweet beer, this one is for you. It is a big beer, but aging seems to be a must on this one if you don’t want it to be a big, hot punch when you drink it fresh. Dogfsh Head loves making these big beers, but I wonder if they are sacrificing favor and balance for higher ABV. Either way, I like what aging has done to this one. Cheers!

May282014
Beer of the Week 193 - 5/28/2014: J.W. Lees Harvest Ale Vintage 2002

This beer and I have a long storied past.  One of my most memorable beer moments was sitting in the back bar of Monk’s Cafe in Philadelphia with my good friend Rob Fink where we shared a vintage J.W. Lees Harvest Ale.  It stood so far out in my mind as one ofthe better beers that I have ever had, that I made it a point to grab as many of these as I could when I stumble upon them.  The English brewers state that, “[i]n 1986 Giles Dennis, Head Brewer at the time, invented JW Lees Harvest Ale.  Harvest Ale is a vintage barley wine made from the first hops of the year and the very finest British malt.”  I have cellared this bottle for 12 years.  I think it’s time to crack it open!

Harvest Ale pours a lovely, amber-copper color that really lights up under the right lighting.  A small, foamy, tan head forms and quickly disappears.  There is a bit of sediment in there, but nothing that I hope detracts from the taste.  The aroma starts off with tons of dark fruits right up front; mostly raisins, figs, dates, and some dried plums.  Brown sugar and some light notes of maple syrup also make themselves apparent. This aroma is very nice. 

The flavors start with sweet maple sryup and dark fruits.  Caramel, toffee, some slight vanilla, brown sugar, and even more dark fruits right in the middle.  The back end iof the flavor profile s almost entirely comprised of sweet, decadent, rum soaked raisins.  This is such a warm and sweet favor profile, it makes me want to keep going back for more.  This beer has very well balanced flavors and one of the best tastes I have come across in a while.  While it is sweeter than your normal barleywine, this is one ofthe reasons I love this beer so much.  Harvest Ale is full bodied with a thick, slick feel to it.  There is a medium carbonation making the mouthfeel almost perfect.

I have had several vintages of this beer, and this one really stands out to me.  The taste and smell all made this experience one I would love to do over again in a heart beat.  I would highly recommend aging these.  While they are just fne freshly released, something really special happens when this one is aged properly.  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 193 - 5/28/2014: J.W. Lees Harvest Ale Vintage 2002

This beer and I have a long storied past. One of my most memorable beer moments was sitting in the back bar of Monk’s Cafe in Philadelphia with my good friend Rob Fink where we shared a vintage J.W. Lees Harvest Ale. It stood so far out in my mind as one ofthe better beers that I have ever had, that I made it a point to grab as many of these as I could when I stumble upon them. The English brewers state that, “[i]n 1986 Giles Dennis, Head Brewer at the time, invented JW Lees Harvest Ale. Harvest Ale is a vintage barley wine made from the first hops of the year and the very finest British malt.” I have cellared this bottle for 12 years. I think it’s time to crack it open!

Harvest Ale pours a lovely, amber-copper color that really lights up under the right lighting. A small, foamy, tan head forms and quickly disappears. There is a bit of sediment in there, but nothing that I hope detracts from the taste. The aroma starts off with tons of dark fruits right up front; mostly raisins, figs, dates, and some dried plums. Brown sugar and some light notes of maple syrup also make themselves apparent. This aroma is very nice.

The flavors start with sweet maple sryup and dark fruits. Caramel, toffee, some slight vanilla, brown sugar, and even more dark fruits right in the middle. The back end iof the flavor profile s almost entirely comprised of sweet, decadent, rum soaked raisins. This is such a warm and sweet favor profile, it makes me want to keep going back for more. This beer has very well balanced flavors and one of the best tastes I have come across in a while. While it is sweeter than your normal barleywine, this is one ofthe reasons I love this beer so much. Harvest Ale is full bodied with a thick, slick feel to it. There is a medium carbonation making the mouthfeel almost perfect.

I have had several vintages of this beer, and this one really stands out to me. The taste and smell all made this experience one I would love to do over again in a heart beat. I would highly recommend aging these. While they are just fne freshly released, something really special happens when this one is aged properly. Cheers!

May212014
Beer of the Week 192 - 5/21/2014: Cisco Brewers Cherry Woods

Cisco Brewers, based in Nantucket, has a long line of beers in their “The Woods” series.  Back in BOTW 180, I took a look at their Monomoy Kriek.  This time, I wanted to see how another one of their cherry based beers stacked up to the other cherry Wild Ales out there.  Cherry Woods is simply described as, “a wheat based ale aged in oak for 12 months with proprietary bugs and whole sour cherries.”  Hopefully this one delivers.

Cherry Woods pours a really bright shade of grapefruit pink.  It is a nice hue, although it pours with no head to speak of aside from a few bubbles.  The color is the best part of the appearance.  The aroma starts with an unmistakeable hit of tart cherries - almost cherry pie filling like, but lighter in sweetness on the nose.  Lots of oak comes through along with a surprising bit of funk.  The aromas seem to mix well with the cherries slightly edging out the funky, musty aromas.  There’s also a slight bit of slightly acidic notes.

As promised, the taste is cherries all the way.  Really nice, tart, and slightly sour cherry flavor takes the stage.  Some oak and earthy funk come through as well.  The flavors all mix together nicely, although it is a bit one dimensional.  It is a well done balance between the sweet and the sour with just a bit of tartness packed in there.  This is a medium bodied beer, but on the lighter side for sure.  Moderate carbonation adds a nice little bite to the tongue.  A slight dryness on the end was expected and pleasantly added to the beer.

Overall, this is not a bad beer!  I’m a sucker for anything aged in oak with cherries, so I was excited for this one.  While it didn’t blow me away, it did impress me more than their Monomoy Kriek,  I could easily revisit this one as it is tart and refreshing all at the same time.  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 192 - 5/21/2014: Cisco Brewers Cherry Woods

Cisco Brewers, based in Nantucket, has a long line of beers in their “The Woods” series. Back in BOTW 180, I took a look at their Monomoy Kriek. This time, I wanted to see how another one of their cherry based beers stacked up to the other cherry Wild Ales out there. Cherry Woods is simply described as, “a wheat based ale aged in oak for 12 months with proprietary bugs and whole sour cherries.” Hopefully this one delivers.

Cherry Woods pours a really bright shade of grapefruit pink. It is a nice hue, although it pours with no head to speak of aside from a few bubbles. The color is the best part of the appearance. The aroma starts with an unmistakeable hit of tart cherries - almost cherry pie filling like, but lighter in sweetness on the nose. Lots of oak comes through along with a surprising bit of funk. The aromas seem to mix well with the cherries slightly edging out the funky, musty aromas. There’s also a slight bit of slightly acidic notes.

As promised, the taste is cherries all the way. Really nice, tart, and slightly sour cherry flavor takes the stage. Some oak and earthy funk come through as well. The flavors all mix together nicely, although it is a bit one dimensional. It is a well done balance between the sweet and the sour with just a bit of tartness packed in there. This is a medium bodied beer, but on the lighter side for sure. Moderate carbonation adds a nice little bite to the tongue. A slight dryness on the end was expected and pleasantly added to the beer.

Overall, this is not a bad beer! I’m a sucker for anything aged in oak with cherries, so I was excited for this one. While it didn’t blow me away, it did impress me more than their Monomoy Kriek, I could easily revisit this one as it is tart and refreshing all at the same time. Cheers!

May142014
Beer of the Week 191 - 5/14/2014: Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA

Weyerbacher has always been a great go-to brewery for me.  An eastern PA based brewery that has really come into the new age of craft beer in a strong way.  Double Simcoe IPA has been a mainstay in the regular rotation since they introduced several years ago.  It is a simple, one hop Double IPA brewed only with Double Simcoe hops.  Weyerbacher makes two versions of this beer: 1) the version I am reviewing here; and 2) an unfiltered version ofthe same beer - which I hope to review sometime in the future.

Double Simcoe pours a cloudy, dark amber color that is much darker and murkier than I would’ve thought an IPA should be.  There is no real head to speak of, but a thin, eggshell white, cap forms and fizzles to a collar.  The aroma starts strong with a carmel and biscuit like sweetness.  Light tropical fruit aromas come next with grapefruit and some orange and lemon zest coming next.  Lastly, some earthy pine notes round things out.  There’s a pretty solid mix of malts and hops with the malts much stronger than I would have wanted them to be for this style.

Not too surprising, the taste follows the nose closely.  Tropical fruits are stronger in the taste, with some citrus and earthy pine notes coming next.  A strong malt presence balances this one very nicely.  While I would rather have hops be the star of the show in a DIPA, this one does a solid job of balancing them with the sweetness from the malts.  This is a medium bodied beer with a moderate carbonation.  The alcohol is hidden quite well here as it is hard at times to remember that this is indeed a 9% ABV beer.

Well, while this wasn’t a mind blowing beer, this wasn’t a bad offering at all from Weyerbacher.  This is a solid, easy to find, imperial IPA.  I think this would be a great entry DIPA for someone learning to either enjoy the style or just trying the style for the first time.  It’s also a great example of a nicely balanced DIPA.  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 191 - 5/14/2014: Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA

Weyerbacher has always been a great go-to brewery for me. An eastern PA based brewery that has really come into the new age of craft beer in a strong way. Double Simcoe IPA has been a mainstay in the regular rotation since they introduced several years ago. It is a simple, one hop Double IPA brewed only with Double Simcoe hops. Weyerbacher makes two versions of this beer: 1) the version I am reviewing here; and 2) an unfiltered version ofthe same beer - which I hope to review sometime in the future.

Double Simcoe pours a cloudy, dark amber color that is much darker and murkier than I would’ve thought an IPA should be. There is no real head to speak of, but a thin, eggshell white, cap forms and fizzles to a collar. The aroma starts strong with a carmel and biscuit like sweetness. Light tropical fruit aromas come next with grapefruit and some orange and lemon zest coming next. Lastly, some earthy pine notes round things out. There’s a pretty solid mix of malts and hops with the malts much stronger than I would have wanted them to be for this style.

Not too surprising, the taste follows the nose closely. Tropical fruits are stronger in the taste, with some citrus and earthy pine notes coming next. A strong malt presence balances this one very nicely. While I would rather have hops be the star of the show in a DIPA, this one does a solid job of balancing them with the sweetness from the malts. This is a medium bodied beer with a moderate carbonation. The alcohol is hidden quite well here as it is hard at times to remember that this is indeed a 9% ABV beer.

Well, while this wasn’t a mind blowing beer, this wasn’t a bad offering at all from Weyerbacher. This is a solid, easy to find, imperial IPA. I think this would be a great entry DIPA for someone learning to either enjoy the style or just trying the style for the first time. It’s also a great example of a nicely balanced DIPA. Cheers!

May72014
Beer of the Week 190 - 5/7/2014: Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break

For those of you who have heard of Mikkeller, Evil Twin is actually Mikkeller’s twin brother who went out and started his own brewery.  His beers are just as experimental, and might have the craziest and most inventive names for beers I’ve come across so far.  Imperial Biscotti Break is one of their more sought after beers and as such, is quite hard to get a hold of.  Lucky for me, my brother was able to score a bottle for me!  The name alone has me excited for this beer, so I cannot wait to dive in…

IBB pours a thick and viscous black color that comes with a rich, mahogany head that is about one-half of a finger thick.  The head recedes to a cap of the same rich mahogany, chocolate color.  This has a really inviting look and is definitely what I wanted this one to look like.  The aroma can easily be described as: decadent, warm, and sweet.  Aromas of rich dark chocolate, roasted coffee, dark fruits  - ike dates and figs - come out front.  Sweet flavors of hazelnuts and almonds mixes with notes of vanilla and come through along with marshmallow notes and carmelized sugars.  There’s a slight licorice aroma showing itself along with a very faint honey note.

The flavor starts wth rich and decadent flavors of dark chocolate and milk chocolate coming first followed by roasted coffee beans; which are more espresso like than your normal coffee flavors.  Vanilla comes next along with cocoa powder, honey, and a slight nuttiness to it reminding me of almonds and hazelnuts.  There are some faint hits of dark fruits like dates and raisins, but the other notable biscotti flavors really take the stage.  IBB is a very smooth and velvety, full bodied beer.  While it is a sweeter, richer beer, having an 11.5% ABV hidden the way it is, makes it a bit easier to drink.

Overall, this beer was totally worth the hype for me.  While some might think this is too sweet of a beer to drink by yourself, I had no issue getting through this bottle - although I did share a little bit! It is a great mix of flavors and definitely a beer that met the hype for me.  Thanks, Matt!  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 190 - 5/7/2014: Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break

For those of you who have heard of Mikkeller, Evil Twin is actually Mikkeller’s twin brother who went out and started his own brewery. His beers are just as experimental, and might have the craziest and most inventive names for beers I’ve come across so far. Imperial Biscotti Break is one of their more sought after beers and as such, is quite hard to get a hold of. Lucky for me, my brother was able to score a bottle for me! The name alone has me excited for this beer, so I cannot wait to dive in…

IBB pours a thick and viscous black color that comes with a rich, mahogany head that is about one-half of a finger thick. The head recedes to a cap of the same rich mahogany, chocolate color. This has a really inviting look and is definitely what I wanted this one to look like. The aroma can easily be described as: decadent, warm, and sweet. Aromas of rich dark chocolate, roasted coffee, dark fruits - ike dates and figs - come out front. Sweet flavors of hazelnuts and almonds mixes with notes of vanilla and come through along with marshmallow notes and carmelized sugars. There’s a slight licorice aroma showing itself along with a very faint honey note.

The flavor starts wth rich and decadent flavors of dark chocolate and milk chocolate coming first followed by roasted coffee beans; which are more espresso like than your normal coffee flavors. Vanilla comes next along with cocoa powder, honey, and a slight nuttiness to it reminding me of almonds and hazelnuts. There are some faint hits of dark fruits like dates and raisins, but the other notable biscotti flavors really take the stage. IBB is a very smooth and velvety, full bodied beer. While it is a sweeter, richer beer, having an 11.5% ABV hidden the way it is, makes it a bit easier to drink.

Overall, this beer was totally worth the hype for me. While some might think this is too sweet of a beer to drink by yourself, I had no issue getting through this bottle - although I did share a little bit! It is a great mix of flavors and definitely a beer that met the hype for me. Thanks, Matt! Cheers!

April302014
Beer of the Week 189 - 4/30/2014: Voodoo Brewing Moar Tropic

Voodoo has really been knocking it out of the park for the past several years.  Since their brewpub opened, they’ve been putting some really great new beers on draft.  Luckily for me, a good work friend of mine lives just 5 minutes from their brewpub!  When I heard the rave reviews about this beer, I knew I couldn’t pass up the chance to try it.  Moar Tropic is listed as an American pale Wheat Ale with an ABV of just 5.1%.  Preeeeeeeetty stoked to give this a try.

Moar pours a very clear (pretty much translucent) golden color.  A VERY white, soapy looking head forms about one and a half fingers thick.  The head leaves some spotty lacing here and there along the glass.  The aroma starts in a VERY good place for me.  Hoppy notes of juicy mango, peach, pineapple, orange, and lemon stand out the most.  There are some slight bready, wheat notes, but the tropical fruit flavors really are the star here.  The aromas are much lighter and more delicate than your bigger, in-your-face IPA or DIPA.

Man.  These flavors ROCK!  Big juicy hits of mango, orange, lemon zest, some peach, grapefruit, and pineapple right out of the gate.  Some grassy flavors come through here and there along with some light breadiness following the juciy hop flavors.  A bit of bitter pine rounds things out.  I could easily see this being confused for a very sessionable IPA.  Moar has a medium to lighter body - really edging on the lighter side ofthings.  There is a good amount of carbonation present making this one crisp and light on the tongue.  This is INCREDIBLY drinkable.  I mean, dangerously drinkable.  I flew through my 32 oz growler much faster than I had hoped - a testament to how drinkable and flavorful this beer really is.

Voodoo, you have really done something wonderful here.  Another oustanding offering from Voodoo that actually delivers what is advetised.  This type of flavor is what I crave in a DIPA or IPA and I have finally been blown away by them in a wheat based beer!  I truly hope I get a chance to try this again.  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 189 - 4/30/2014: Voodoo Brewing Moar Tropic

Voodoo has really been knocking it out of the park for the past several years. Since their brewpub opened, they’ve been putting some really great new beers on draft. Luckily for me, a good work friend of mine lives just 5 minutes from their brewpub! When I heard the rave reviews about this beer, I knew I couldn’t pass up the chance to try it. Moar Tropic is listed as an American pale Wheat Ale with an ABV of just 5.1%. Preeeeeeeetty stoked to give this a try.

Moar pours a very clear (pretty much translucent) golden color. A VERY white, soapy looking head forms about one and a half fingers thick. The head leaves some spotty lacing here and there along the glass. The aroma starts in a VERY good place for me. Hoppy notes of juicy mango, peach, pineapple, orange, and lemon stand out the most. There are some slight bready, wheat notes, but the tropical fruit flavors really are the star here. The aromas are much lighter and more delicate than your bigger, in-your-face IPA or DIPA.

Man. These flavors ROCK! Big juicy hits of mango, orange, lemon zest, some peach, grapefruit, and pineapple right out of the gate. Some grassy flavors come through here and there along with some light breadiness following the juciy hop flavors. A bit of bitter pine rounds things out. I could easily see this being confused for a very sessionable IPA. Moar has a medium to lighter body - really edging on the lighter side ofthings. There is a good amount of carbonation present making this one crisp and light on the tongue. This is INCREDIBLY drinkable. I mean, dangerously drinkable. I flew through my 32 oz growler much faster than I had hoped - a testament to how drinkable and flavorful this beer really is.

Voodoo, you have really done something wonderful here. Another oustanding offering from Voodoo that actually delivers what is advetised. This type of flavor is what I crave in a DIPA or IPA and I have finally been blown away by them in a wheat based beer! I truly hope I get a chance to try this again. Cheers!

April232014
Beer of the Week 188 - 4/23/2014: Founders Brewing Imperial Stout

Whoops.  I’m not sure what happened with last week’s post, but this should make up for it…

As you all may know, Founders Brewing Co. is my favorite brewery.  They constantly impress me with their incredible beers and experimental nature.  They also have what I consider to be one of the best barrel programs in the country.  There are tons of imperial stouts out there.  So, I am anxious and nervous to try such a popular style of beer.  Anxious, because I’m sure it will be great; nervous because since this is such an overdone beer at times, how will Founders interpret the style?

Imperial Stout pours a nice, opaque-black color.  A creamy, dark brown sugar colored head forms about two fingers thick.  The head leaves some really nice lacing along the glass as it recedes.  Nice aromas of sweet chocolate and dark roasted malts start things off.  Dark, sweet fruits and some slight coffee aromas follow.  At the end iof the nose is some vanilla and a little bit of alcohol heat. 

The taste starts off with dark fruits, sweet chocolate, rand strongly roasted (almost burnt) malts.  Vanilla, caramel, and some dark toffee also come out adding some sweeter notes to the bitter undertones.  The flavors really follow the nose quite well except that the alcohol heat is MUCH less prominant in the taste.  These flavors are fantastic!  As the beer warms, this becomes such a well integrated flavor profile.  Simple, yes, but for such familiar flavors, it is refreshing to see them all working together harmoniously.  This is a medium to heavy bodied beer with moderate carbonation and is slightly slick on the tongue.  My only gripe is that it could be a bit creamier and thicker - in my ioinion of course.

For my first time having this, I am extremely impressed. This is a very enjoyable beer and surprisingly very drinkable. With so many hard to find Russian imperial stouts out there, it is refreshing to find one that is easy to obtain AND that has a fantastic taste.  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 188 - 4/23/2014: Founders Brewing Imperial Stout

Whoops. I’m not sure what happened with last week’s post, but this should make up for it…

As you all may know, Founders Brewing Co. is my favorite brewery. They constantly impress me with their incredible beers and experimental nature. They also have what I consider to be one of the best barrel programs in the country. There are tons of imperial stouts out there. So, I am anxious and nervous to try such a popular style of beer. Anxious, because I’m sure it will be great; nervous because since this is such an overdone beer at times, how will Founders interpret the style?

Imperial Stout pours a nice, opaque-black color. A creamy, dark brown sugar colored head forms about two fingers thick. The head leaves some really nice lacing along the glass as it recedes. Nice aromas of sweet chocolate and dark roasted malts start things off. Dark, sweet fruits and some slight coffee aromas follow. At the end iof the nose is some vanilla and a little bit of alcohol heat.

The taste starts off with dark fruits, sweet chocolate, rand strongly roasted (almost burnt) malts. Vanilla, caramel, and some dark toffee also come out adding some sweeter notes to the bitter undertones. The flavors really follow the nose quite well except that the alcohol heat is MUCH less prominant in the taste. These flavors are fantastic! As the beer warms, this becomes such a well integrated flavor profile. Simple, yes, but for such familiar flavors, it is refreshing to see them all working together harmoniously. This is a medium to heavy bodied beer with moderate carbonation and is slightly slick on the tongue. My only gripe is that it could be a bit creamier and thicker - in my ioinion of course.

For my first time having this, I am extremely impressed. This is a very enjoyable beer and surprisingly very drinkable. With so many hard to find Russian imperial stouts out there, it is refreshing to find one that is easy to obtain AND that has a fantastic taste. Cheers!

April162014
Beer of the Week 187 - 4/16/2014: Three Floyds Zombie Dust

This beer has made waves through the craft beer community ever since it was released.  I had the opportunity to have it for the first time about a year or so ago when my buddy Doug, in D.C., hooked me up with a fresh six-pack.  I forgot how great it was until a work buddy, Zach, surprised me with a bottle on my desk the other day.  Three Floyds is a “tiny” brewery in Muncie, IL.  They have really made themselves known for their Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout (See BOTW 17, Part 2).  However, they continually produce some fantastic beers, that, because they are so small, are awfully hard to get a hold of.  Zombie Dust is classified as an American Pale Ale, but it might as well be an IPA.  Three Floyds describes it as an “intensely hopped and gushing undead Pale Ale … .”  I cnould not describe it any better.

Zombie Dust pours a slightly hazy, apricot color that had some nice golden hues when held to the light.  An off-white, two-finger head formed and retained nicely.  Some nice lacing was left along the glass - always a sign that some hoppy deliciousness is coming your way.  The aroma starts with some really bright, fruity aromas.  Big notes of grapefruit, mango, pineapple, honeydew mellon, and lots of lemon/citrus notes stand out the most.  Sweet biscuit and caramel malts provide a background for these sweet fruit aromas.  There’s a bit of pine on the backend of the nose too.  Man, this is nice!

The taste is nothing but juicy, tropical fruits all over the place!  Fresh, bright flavors of mango, grapefruit, pineapple, tangerine and lemon right up front.  A mix of bready, caramel, biscuit malts stands up nicely with the fruit notes of the flavor profile.  Some resin and some slight bitter pine is present as well adding nicely to the flavors here.  Zombie Dust is a medium bodied beer that at times is slightly on the lighter side.  A relatively dry finish comes across on this beer along with a medium level of carbonation.

What an incredibly stellar, sessionable, pale ale at just 6.2% ABV.  The flavors are precisely what I want in a hop forward beer.  I would argue that this beer could easily rival some of the better American IPA’s out there, and, maybe, some of the Imperial IPA’s out there in the craft beer world.  I am very glad I got to try this beer when I have had the opportunity.  Since the Summer is several months away, I really hope tI get some more of this beer soon!  Plus, the label art is AWESOME!  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 187 - 4/16/2014: Three Floyds Zombie Dust

This beer has made waves through the craft beer community ever since it was released. I had the opportunity to have it for the first time about a year or so ago when my buddy Doug, in D.C., hooked me up with a fresh six-pack. I forgot how great it was until a work buddy, Zach, surprised me with a bottle on my desk the other day. Three Floyds is a “tiny” brewery in Muncie, IL. They have really made themselves known for their Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout (See BOTW 17, Part 2). However, they continually produce some fantastic beers, that, because they are so small, are awfully hard to get a hold of. Zombie Dust is classified as an American Pale Ale, but it might as well be an IPA. Three Floyds describes it as an “intensely hopped and gushing undead Pale Ale … .” I cnould not describe it any better.

Zombie Dust pours a slightly hazy, apricot color that had some nice golden hues when held to the light. An off-white, two-finger head formed and retained nicely. Some nice lacing was left along the glass - always a sign that some hoppy deliciousness is coming your way. The aroma starts with some really bright, fruity aromas. Big notes of grapefruit, mango, pineapple, honeydew mellon, and lots of lemon/citrus notes stand out the most. Sweet biscuit and caramel malts provide a background for these sweet fruit aromas. There’s a bit of pine on the backend of the nose too. Man, this is nice!

The taste is nothing but juicy, tropical fruits all over the place! Fresh, bright flavors of mango, grapefruit, pineapple, tangerine and lemon right up front. A mix of bready, caramel, biscuit malts stands up nicely with the fruit notes of the flavor profile. Some resin and some slight bitter pine is present as well adding nicely to the flavors here. Zombie Dust is a medium bodied beer that at times is slightly on the lighter side. A relatively dry finish comes across on this beer along with a medium level of carbonation.

What an incredibly stellar, sessionable, pale ale at just 6.2% ABV. The flavors are precisely what I want in a hop forward beer. I would argue that this beer could easily rival some of the better American IPA’s out there, and, maybe, some of the Imperial IPA’s out there in the craft beer world. I am very glad I got to try this beer when I have had the opportunity. Since the Summer is several months away, I really hope tI get some more of this beer soon! Plus, the label art is AWESOME! Cheers!

April92014
Beer of the Week 186 - 4/9/2014: Brouwerij De Molen Cease & Desist

De Molen is really well known for their stouts.  Odd to think that a brewery in the Netherlands could produce some world class stouts, but they really have.  So much so that this beer used to be named “Rasputin.”  Afer a trademark dispute with North Coast Brewing in California, they changed its name to “Cease & Desist” to poke some fun at the fact they were involved in such a dispute.  Since I purchased this beer, it has been renamed to “Disputin” - get it?  Anyways, C&D is an 11% ABV Russian Imperial Stout that I am looking forward to trying.

Whoa!  A normal pour resulted in a HUGE, 4 finger thick, foamy head that stuck around for quite a while.  When I could finally see the body, it was a dark, thick black color.  The head was a whitish -tan color.  Right out of the bottle, it just smells dark!  Deep roasted notes and a nuttiness is very prominent.  Lots of chocolate and some dark fruits make themselves known as well.  Some burnt sugar notes and licorice come through adding a bit more to the overall nose.  Not a super complex aroma, but not bad either.

The taste begins with big roasted malt flavors mixed with burnt sugars and chocolate.  Lots of dark fruits come out as well with dates, figs, and some blackberries making a presence.  Some charred flavors roll around with everything, which, depending on your taste, is a good thing or a bad thing.  This is a medium bodied beer that is very much on the edge of being heavy bodied.  A bubbly carbonation makes for a slightly prickly feel.

Overall, this was not a bad beer at all.  However, I don’t know if this is one I would go back for any time soon, but it was a nice enjoyable RIS nonetheless.  It is always interesting to see how other countries, while not often thought ofas craft beer hot-spots, are doing what they can to produce world class craft beer.  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 186 - 4/9/2014: Brouwerij De Molen Cease & Desist

De Molen is really well known for their stouts. Odd to think that a brewery in the Netherlands could produce some world class stouts, but they really have. So much so that this beer used to be named “Rasputin.” Afer a trademark dispute with North Coast Brewing in California, they changed its name to “Cease & Desist” to poke some fun at the fact they were involved in such a dispute. Since I purchased this beer, it has been renamed to “Disputin” - get it? Anyways, C&D is an 11% ABV Russian Imperial Stout that I am looking forward to trying.

Whoa! A normal pour resulted in a HUGE, 4 finger thick, foamy head that stuck around for quite a while. When I could finally see the body, it was a dark, thick black color. The head was a whitish -tan color. Right out of the bottle, it just smells dark! Deep roasted notes and a nuttiness is very prominent. Lots of chocolate and some dark fruits make themselves known as well. Some burnt sugar notes and licorice come through adding a bit more to the overall nose. Not a super complex aroma, but not bad either.

The taste begins with big roasted malt flavors mixed with burnt sugars and chocolate. Lots of dark fruits come out as well with dates, figs, and some blackberries making a presence. Some charred flavors roll around with everything, which, depending on your taste, is a good thing or a bad thing. This is a medium bodied beer that is very much on the edge of being heavy bodied. A bubbly carbonation makes for a slightly prickly feel.

Overall, this was not a bad beer at all. However, I don’t know if this is one I would go back for any time soon, but it was a nice enjoyable RIS nonetheless. It is always interesting to see how other countries, while not often thought ofas craft beer hot-spots, are doing what they can to produce world class craft beer. Cheers!

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