Monday, November 24, 2008

Chimay Rouge, Scourmount Abbey, Belguim

Alas, a Belgian beer, the Chimay Red or Rouge as the Belgians call it. The ale starts of dark and meanders it way to a light floral finish, as the Belgians tend to do. The aftertaste is sweet, approaching a dry bitterness. The beer does have a 7% ABV, which it needs to offset the floral flavors that suggest more of a wine spritzer. All in all, the Chimay Rouge is decent for a Belgian and gets a 3.0.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend Notes: Worst Beer Ever

So I was out at a local Irish pub the other day, and it being fall in Massachusetts, decided to partake of a Sam Adams Octoberfest. Now, Sam October is a great beer, definitely a 4.5 in my opinion, so I was shocked when I took my sip from my draught and well, worst beer ever. It didn't have the smoothness or the caramel tones that I know and love in a Sam October. It tasted horribly. It just goes to show that you never know what you are getting when a beer comes out of a tap or out of a bottle.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Leviathan Imperial IPA, Harpoon Brewery, South Boston, MA

So, many people I know use the Harpoon IPA as their barometer of a good IPA, so I was puzzled when I heard they rolled out the Leviathan Imperial IPA, I mean why ruin a good thing? The thing is, the texture and taste are vastly different, you wouldn't know these beers were even related. The Leviathan has a strong alcohol bite. It bitters the tongue as well as the recesses of the mouth and throat. The alcohol tinge dissipates enough to allow you to catch the grapefruit undertones. More carbonated than other imperials which tend to go syrupy in texture. The 10% ABV is something to be reckoned with. The Leviathan, much like it's Harpoon predecessor also gets a 4.0, but for different reasons. You definitely have to be looking for a sharp beer when trying this one.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wingwalker Pale Ale, City Brewery, La Crosse, WI

For a beer as good as Wingwalker Pale Ale, they sure have a terrible website. As you can see there is not much going on here techwise, and it makes me think that this is just another big corporate company beer packaged differently, but if I do say this is one fantastic beer. The caramel apple malt flavor is a descendant of ambrosia itself. The beer is quite simply delicious. The flavor, malt, alcohol combination should earn legendary combo status alongside Tinker to Evers to Chance. The 5.4% ABV makes this a beer to be reckoned with. I definitely recommend you pick it up. Wingwalker Pale gets a 4.5

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sea Dog Brewery, Bangor, Maine

So the past few days I have reviewed the beers from my trip to Sea Dog Brewery in Bangor, Maine a few weeks ago. And the reviews didn't come back that hot. I found the brews lacking a bit of malt power and they came off as flat. Now I am a power IPA, Strong Ale kind of guy so someone else might think these beers are great, and I do admit they flavoring was there, just not enough. I didn't do a tour or anything just sat down for some apps, some beers and well some Big Buck Hunter. Some things you should know, I sampled small amounts of the Pale Ale and the Pumpkin Ale, and they were good, in fact the Pale Ale was great. I didn't sample enough to review however. I was also disappointed that they had sevrers who hadn't tried the beers and couldn't offer a suggestion. General consensus at the table was that the server possibly wasn't 21, which I can understand, BUT you are a brewery, where people come in to try your beers and want to know suggestions, don't hire under 21 servers. Oh well, maybe next time I visit they will have their act together, if not I did mention they have Big Buck Hunter, right?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Old Gollywobbler Brown Ale, Sea Dog Brewing Co., Bangor, ME

The Old Gollywobbler Brown Ale is another beer from Sea Dog where I wished they stepped it up a few more notches maltwise. I think this and Sea Dog's IPA would be fantastic with just a tad stronger flavor. The beers come off terribly weak and flat. The Gollywobbler has a light brown caramel, honeyish flavor that needs some enhancements, but the roots are there. Maybe a step up beyond the 4.0% ABV would help too. Like it's sister IPA, this beer leaves you wanting, wanting flavor, wanting hops, wanting ABV, but unfotunately not wanting more Sea Dog. The Gollywobbler gets a 2.5.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Old East India Pale Ale, Sea Dog Brewing Co., Bangor, ME

The Old East India Pale Ale is not your traditional IPA. If hops make an appearance in this beer, it is a brief one which my faithful readers know is a no-no in my beloved IPAs. There is a great caramel malt flavor hiding behind this beer, but they need to turn this malt flavor up a few notches as the lightness suggests a flat taste. The 6.2% ABV was one of the only things not disappointing me in this beer experience. The other? The Sea Dog Brewery had Big Buck Hunter Safari in its restaurant. The Old East IPA gets a 2.5. Add a few hops and a few more grains and this has 3.5/4.0 potential.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Organic India Pale Ale, Eel River Brewing Co., Fortuna, CA

The Eel River Organic IPA is better than your typical IPA. It has strong hop character that is complemented by a smooth fruitiness. Despite a 7 % ABV, you do not feel like you are drinking an alcohol heavy brew. I am sure that since the beer is made from organic hops, that appeals to people, not me though. What is appealing to me is the taste which this beer is full of. The Eel River IPA gets a 3.5.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Arcadia Ales IPA, Arcadia Brewing Co., Battle Creek, MI

The Arcadia Ales IPA is another of what I would call a Starter IPA. The hops aren't overpowering, but there is a smooth grapefruity citrus hop flavor. The light touch of hops however do provide a lingering bitterness. The 5.9% ABV is also on the light side for where I typically want my IPAs to be, but the citrus tones make up for it. The Arcadia gets a 3.5

Friday, October 24, 2008

Skull Splitter, Orkney Brewery, Orkney, Scotland

The Skull Splitter shows just how close some beers teeter on the edge from an American Strong Ale or Double IPA to a barley wine. This beer definitely follows suit with a Dogfish Head 90 Minute Ale as they are decidedly similar beers. Both of them have strong citrus floral presence that is enhanced by an alcohol bite. The Skull Splitter is more elixir than liquid and explores all of your taste bud senses. The 8.5% ABV is also intimidating, so the weak of heart should leave this one be. The Skull Splitter takes a 4.5.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tremont Ale Mr Oktoberfest, Shipyard Brewing Co., Portlan, ME

This beer doesn't exist, or that's what the Internet wants you to think, but I had the Tremont Ale Mr. Oktoberfest and it was good, real good. So what's with the lack of web coverage? It seems Tremont Ale was bought by Shipyard Brewing Co. and they have decided to produce this beer without marketing it. The Mr. Oktoberfest is a great brown ale. It is smooth and it has slight fruity hints. It definitely compares with Sam Octoberfest. This beer gets a 4.5 and I will be sending my liquor store buddies off in a search for this beer.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Black Dog Ale, Spanish Peaks Brewing Co., Polson, MT

The Black Dog Ale is another one of these beers from "Parts Unknown", it seems they used to be based out of Maryland and now may be located in Montana. And I found it in Maine. This dog knows how to travel. The Black Dog is a smooth brownish ale with a good light taste. The hops are very unassuming, a trait you will find in most English Pale Ales. The beer is definitely refreshing and will not dominate your palette, but linger so you know it's there. The 5.2% ABV is right in line with the crispness of the beer. The Black Dog gets a 3.5.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weekend Notes

I was able to knock back some great beers this weekend so the posts will definitely be flowing through the next few weeks as I catch up. I was at a College Football Tailgate this week, which caused me to think what are your favorite beer related activities/sports/games? I'd have to put Beirut, and GoldenTee up there for sure. And probably the old mainstay pool or billiards as some chaps call it. What about yours? Also there is a poll up on the right side of the page. Let me know what you think.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hobgoblin, Wychwood Brewery, Okfordshire, United Kingdom

Check out that face on the bottle, how can you honestly pass the Hobgoblin by without taking a second glance? The thing is, I couldn't. When looking for new beers to try, I definitely look for coolest bottle. Yes I am destined to impulse buy anything that is slightly interesting, especially if it's next to the register. The Hobgoblin is on the lighter side of brown ales. While I often detract for this lightness in my reviews, I found that the Hobgoblin made up for it with a fruity/nuttish aftertaste that teased and appeased my palette. This beer definitely has flavor on it's side as well as a healthy 5.2% ABV. The Hobgoblin sneaks in at a 4.0.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Boathouse Brown Ale, Sebago Brewing Co., South Portland, ME

The Boathouse Brown Ale is your run of the mill standard brown ale. I think the boys at Sebago could add a little more chocolate malt to add a bit more oomph to this beer. Even the ABV is rudimentary clocking in at 4.8%. This isn't a beer you'd write home about, unless of course you have a blog where you write about beer. The Sebago gets the standard 3.0.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Weekend Notes

I was up in Maine this past weekend and was able to visit a local brewery as well as try a bunch of different beers, when I get a chance I'll post these over the next few days. I was very high on a few of these so I want to get them out and posted as soon as I can, so keep an eye out the next few days.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Double Dead Guy Ale, Rogue Brewery, Newport, OR

There are 3 things you can do when confronted with peer pressure (this blog is sponsored by a very special episode of Blossom) , either ignore it, succumb to it, or do something something so over the top that those pressuring you see how crazy you are and leave you alone. The problem with option one is that you will most likely keep on getting pressured and or teased. The problem with option 2 is that you essentially weak and will be victim to the peer pressure forever, and the problem with option 3, well there's a reason you were being peer pressured in the first place, so to go above and beyond that, well that takes a different kind of person. This is the situation I found myself in, with my dinner companions chanting that I order the Dead Guy Ale, I weighed my options. Option 1 wouldn't work because my companions had had a few and were determined to keep chanting, option 2 could lead to a night of them chanting outrageous drinks and god forbid they start chanting for Mind Erasers, so I went for option 3. I didn't order the Dead Guy Ale, I ordered the DOUBLE Dead Guy Ale. My critics were quieted. Now here's the dangerous part, the Dead Guy Ale is 6.6% ABV, the Double Dead Guy is 9.5% ABV (not exactly double, is it Rogue Brewery, get your math straight). Now this wouldn't be a bad move if I were having just one, but this was the end of the night. This was guarantee hangover city. I had friends in college who used to have Tuesday night parties in the summer. They always tapped the Busch Light keg first and the Bud Ice keg second. You could always tell who was at their parties because the next day the people had their heads in their hands and walked like zombies around campus This is not logical, you should always start strong and then go weak, trust me you'll feel better in the morning. I should have remembered my college example, but alas I did not. I took on the Double Dead Guy Ale, and it was delicious. It was citrusy and sugary. It was overflowing with hoppy goodness. It did have a little alcohol bite to it, but the caramel and citrus confluence of flavors complemented it perfectly. The Double Dead Guy gets a 4.0

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Advice: Don't Eat Yellow Snow


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Imperial India Pale Ale, Rogue Brewery, Newport, OR

What's better than an IPA? How about an IMPERIAL IPA? It's like the old Tim Allen bit where he always wants more power, well I feel that way about hops and the Rogue Imperial India Pale Ale was bringing the hops. The beer was very hoppy and the Cascade hop bitterness quotient is perfect. This IPA is not for the faint of heart, the ABV is at 9.5%, and while there is a slight alcohol tinge to the taste, it does not detract from the beer. In fact the only problem was that it only came in a 10.5 oz serving. If you are looking for a strong IPA, definitely pick this one up. The rating is at a 4.5.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar, Rogue Brewery, Newport, OR

I am a sucker for Brown Ales, I'll admit it, so when I saw the Hazelnut Brown Nectar on tap, I thought I'd give it a whirl. I was quite suspicious of the Hazelnut piece, but after all Pumpkin beers don't taste like pumpkins, right? Right? Wrong. This beer is like a giant hazelnut syrup, which on the good side means it was smooth, but on the bad side, it means the beer is very sweet. There is a nice chocolate maltiness to the beer, but the Hazelnut is very overpowering in the aftertaste. This is a novelty beer, where you should only really have one and move on. The 6.2% ABV is surprising since the beer comes off so smooth and the sweetness makes it more like a Bacardi Breezer. The overwhelming hazelnut flavor really knocks this one down a lot, coming in at a 2.5

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Weekend Notes

Good weekend for beers this weekend. The restaurant I went to had a Rogue Ale beer night, so my posts this week will be very Rogue Ale centric. I find out Tuesday if I will be travelling this weekend, if so it means up to Maine for some Maine brews and possibly some Belgians as one of our hosts is a big Belgian beer guy. We also had dinner at a friend's house and found another pumpkin beer enthusiast. I didn't know there was such a thing, I blame El Nino for this epidemic. Another epidemic I saw this weekend, was bar salesmen. These are guys who come into bars and try to sell you things. Having lived in a sketchy area where this was a frequent occurrence, I thought this was only a local occurrence. I did not think this happened other places. Now I have been offered many things in bars, bicycles, dvds, meat, but this weekend the guy was selling tan suits. Amazing. Definitely an item I would have bought if cooler heads weren't around to stop me. I mean imagine the stories I could tell of the suit I bought in a bar, oh well.

Enjoy the Rogues this week, I did and I had the headache to prove it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Oldie but Goodie email - Investment Advice

If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in Delta Airlines
one year ago, you will have $49.00 today.
If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in AIG one year
ago, you will have $33.00 today.
If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in Lehman Brothers
one year ago, you will have $0.00 today.

But, if you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year
ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the aluminum cans
for recycling refund, you will have received $214.00. Based
on the above, the best current investment plan is to drink
heavily & recycle.

It is called the 401-Keg.

A recent study found that the average American walks
about 900 miles a year.

Another study found that Americans drink, on average, 22
gallons of alcohol a year.

That means that, on average, Americans get about 41 miles
to the gallon!

Makes you proud to be an American!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Glacier Harvest, Harpoon Brewery, South Boston, MA

I was out at a generic Irish pub and found the Glacier Harvest on tap. It's a member of Harpoon's 100 Barrel Series so it is only available for a limited time. The Glacier Harvest had a very alcoholly taste and it seems this beer was driven by its bitterness. The bitterness is most likely the result of the wet hops. Wet Hops, are essentially fresher hops that have been harvested in the last 24 hours or so. They are supposed to give a fuller hop flavor. It also appears this beer had an 07 distribution as well, as I found an email from a friend discussing this bee and the wet hop process. I, however, was not interested in an encore performance. The 6.7% ABV and the bitterness defeated me and I give this beer a 2.0.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekend Notes: Belgians are coming

I've received a bit of criticism about my lack of Belgian Ale coverage. The truth is, I have had many Belgian Ales and never really found one I liked so I pretty much gave up on them. Now, this weekend I was on vacation. A few people offered to go to the liquor store and pick up some beers, I declined to attend picturing an evening ahead of cards and BL Smooths. After about 10 minutes, I got a call that I needed to proceed to the liquor store post haste because they were having an Octoberfest Event with a 60+ beer tasting. I secured a driver, and made my way there. First off, the Kappy's Liquors in Falmouth, MA is incredible, their selection was amazing and I could have spent all day in there. Second, they had a lot of great brewers in house. I liked the Cape Cod Brewing IPA, I liked the OffShore Ale Co's IPA enough to pick up a 6 pack. I visited my friends at Harpoon and Sam Adams. One of the last tables was Belgians and I thought, it's free, you gotta try one. After speaking a few minutes with the beer rep, I chose a Belgian that was on the dark side, the Angelique. The beer was malty and heavy. It wasn't light and fruty like it's brethren. It was delicious. I can't do a formal review on just a few sips, but it definitely brought some kick with 7% ABV. I may have to pick this one up again. I enjoyed many other beers as well, too many to name. But, the good news is that we may get a Belgian beer reviewed after all on this site.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Breaking News

I like a Belgian beer. It's called Angelique by Belgique. It's more dark and less fruity than Belgians I am accustomed to. More to follow later.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Prima Pils, Victory Brewing Co., Downington, PA

In the words of Johnny Drama, VICTORY!!! As in the Victory Prima Pils which I had the chance to try this past weekend. Now, it's been said before that I am not the biggest fan of pilsners. But the Prima Pils was definitely a different kind of pilsner. The Prima wasn't the run of the mill light, wheaty pilsner. The Prima was full on hop bitterness coming right at ya. It was a darker flavor than it's counterparts. Drinking this beer is just like drinking pure hop juice, so if you don't like sweet, delicious hop bitterness, pass on this beer. The person who offered me the beer described the taste as "sharp" and I'd totally have to agree. The 5.3% ABV is a bit on the low side for microbrew but that's OK. The Prima get a good solid 3.5. This should also give you Belgian Fans a ray of hope that one day I'll find a Belgian Beer I like.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Landshark Lager, Margaritaville Brewing Co., Jacksonville, FL

The summer of 2009 will be known for the battle for Summer Beer Supremacy. Like the rest of the lemmings, I always gravitated towards Corona Extra Gold for my BBQ beer fix, unless I was in a fancy mood and picked up some Red Stripe (hooray beer!) instead. This year Pacifico, Miller Chill, and Bud Light Lime battled the two above mainstays for the summer beer market share. I’ve tried the latest contestants and wasn’t impressed, copies rarely are as good as the original, I believe the movie Multiplicity taught us all that. However a dark horse emerged late into the sweepstakes and grabbed my eye, and more importantly my taste buds. Landshark Lager is the real deal when it comes to summer beers. The beer is light and smooth and two cases into the summer I have yet to get that skunky flavor that occasionally permeates Corona. The beer isn’t overpowering like a Sam Summer can be, but its freshness is quite appropriate for a lazy day by the grill. Also you don’t need a lime to spruce things up and hide the beer taste, it’s good to go. The 4.7% ABV also means you can put a few back without falling into the grill. The beer gets a 2.5

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thanks Jim

Interesting article here about the recent hop shortage and how Sam Adams founder Jim Koch helped out the little guy by selling his surplus hops at cost to smaller brewers so they could stay in business. So next time you pull out one of your favorite local microbrews tip your bottle to Jim Koch for a job well done.

This article by the way was randomly sent to me, good job whoever sent it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Voodoo Vator, Atwater Block Brewery, Detroit, MI

Yup, I picked up another variety pack and the first offerring I tried was the awesomely named Voodoo Vator. Because, honestly with a name like that how can you start with anything else? The Voodoo Vator is a dark beer and is quite similar to a barleywine as the alcohol is so potent it gives it a slight wine aftertaste. The smoky chocolate malt allows itself to be overpowered by the alcohol, but it still lets you know its there. I wouldn't recommend an evening with the Voodoo Vator because of it's 9.5% ABV, but this is a great beer when you are only having one and want to hang on the dark side of things for the evening. The Vator grabs a 4.0

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Weekend Notes - The Wedding Rotation

Attended a fantastic wedding this past weekend. I know everyone says all weddings are fantastic and theirs is the best, but did any of those weddings have a 6 foot lasso made of cloth napkins? I didn't think so, but I digress. I think the hardest decision at any wedding is how to approach the liquor situation. If it's a cash bar, you totally go cheapest alcoholic drink available. But what about an open bar? Some people feel this is the perfect time to go all big time and order the expensive hard stuff. I, however, go for beer, and I go for the lightest one available, because they don't wear you down, you practically sweat off any alcohol by walking near the dance floor and as we all know, weddings, especially those with after-parties, are marathons, not sprints. Normally my go to is Bud Light. However the past 2 weddings I attended, Bud Light was not on the list so I had to improvise. And seriously not having Bud Light throws me into a panic where I basically go through the 5 stages of death (Denial, Anger, Depression, Bargaining & Acceptance*) and blurt out the next beer in my wedding rotation. I can only imagine the look on my face as I go through this mini panic attack, bartenders must think I am having a meltdown like that kid Kevin in Parenthood. In my beer rotation I definitely have to say it looks like this:
1. Bud Light
2. Coors Light
3. Miller Lite
4. Corona - if I am going for Corona, it better be Summer and an outdoor wedding.
5. The wedding couple clearly hates beer drinkers so I am drinking 7&7s all night.

This time I settled for Miller Lite, and it served me well all evening and I woke up hangoverless which is always important. Am I the only person with a Wedding Beer Rotation? By the way, there are some times when a wedding has just a fantastic beer available and usually I'll knock one of those down before going to the comfort of my rotation.

* I sometimes think the 5 stages of death are the only thing I remember from college which is odd, because it's not like I am a social worker. I do also remember the professor of that class let us out an hour early each week so everyone could be home in time for Monday Night Football.

Also the kegerator project is on hold, I blame the economy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Punkin Ale, Dogfish Head Brewing, Milton, DE

I am not really big on flavored beers, Cherry Wheats, Blueberry UFOs etc I tend to pass on. I was extremely hesitant to try the Punkin Ale for a few reasons. One, I am not a big fan of pumpkin anything. Two, my aforementioned bias to flavored beers. And three, the fact there is crazy and then there is Dogfish brewing crazy. Needless to say after a week or so of badgering I tried the Punkin Ale. I noticed immediately, it didn’t taste like a pumpkin. And then I realized what kind of beer it really was, a brown ale with a cinnamony and brown sugary kick that added just a hint of spice to a smooth alcohol tinged brown ale. The confluence of flavors gave the beer a syrupy texture perfect for a fall beer. The 7% ABV will also keep you warm on those cool fall nights. The Punkin knocks down a 4.0 ranking.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Steelhead Double IPA, Mad River Brewing Co., Blue Lake, CA

I think if I have learned anything about beer, it’s that I enjoy an IPA, so when I see on the menu the Steelhead Double IPA, I just have to try it, thinking I am going to be looking down the barrel of a great hop experience, not so in the case of the Steelhead. The beer was all hop character and had such an overpowering alcohol taste that any hint of malt was eliminated. The beer also had the consistency of a medicine elixir. Brewers tend to try and up the ante when driving ABVs up over 7.5, but in the case Mad River at 8.6%ABV sacrificed flavor. The Steelhead gets a 2.0.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weekend Notes - The Hobo's Special

First of all, how about this six pack on the left? This is exactly how I found it when I researched the deep recesses of the liquor store near my house. How awesome is that collection of beers? The fact that someone took the time to collect singles of all of those and then took time to put them in those six pack plastic rings is mighty impressive. I am calling it The Hobo's Special, only because I like the word Hobo and don't think it's used enough anymore.

Onto more important things, Fall is a great time for beer as a lot of the brown ales and Oktoberfest seasonals start coming out. I cannot wait. I've already sampled a few seasonals and the reviews will be pouring in the next few days.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fleur-de-lis Restoration Ale, Abita Brewing Co., Abita Springs, LA

I'll be the first to admit that I want to like the Abita Fleur-de-lis Restoration Ale. I love the city of New Orleans, it is a tremendous place to visit, but this bias should not be reflected in my review. I thought the beer was going to be strong and come out fighting, instead it came out light throwing me for a loop. Instead of doused with an expected strong malty taste, I was spritzed with a grape citrusy flavor. After a few more sips the unique grape whispers began piquing my palette. Personal biases, unachievable expectations and unexpected styles aside, I am left rating this beer a 3, a draw in a way. Fair? perhaps, perhaps not. This beer is on my radar however.

Summer Notes - I am back

It's been a month, I know. I've seen your emails, your frantic texts. Some, have pulled me aside at religious ceremonies asking when's the next post. Truth is, I've been at the Hamptons with my new pal, Chuck Bass, no not really. Unfortunately, the Crusade doesn't pay the bills and I have been burning the candle at both ends. I apologize. I have been drinking and I will be releasing some reviews over the next few days.

Some things to look forward to in the next few weeks, my new favorite summer beer, the greatest 6 pack of all time, hopefully some homebrewing, and god-willing, a kegerator project. In the meantime, it's fall, enjoy some Sam Ocktober, some Harpoon Ocktoberfest and some football. Fall is the time of tailgating. Cheers

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Trinity Red Ale, Trinity Brewing Co., Chicago, IL

Interesting thing about Trinity Red Ale, it doesn't exist. Apparently it is brewed by Goose Island Brewing Co. for exclusive sale at Trader Joe's under the Trinity Ale name. Weird right? Anyways, back to the beer. The Trinity red is very light and has limited carbonation. The addition of rye to the brew gives it an unsweetened ice tea flavor where someone added a lemon peel as an afterthought. The ale is not hoppy, and not as creamy as it's red ale brethren. I think it's the kind of beer that traditional non-beer lovers may enjoy. I found that the sweet taste was quite enjoyable and different. I did not find the beer to be malty at all. According to Goose Island the beer or it's Goose Island Honker twin has 3.5% ABV. I rated the beer a 3.5. Trader Joe's, I've found, is a great place to find some different beers and I highly recommend it. Not all of them sell alcohol however.

Monday, August 4, 2008

La Rossa, Birra Moretti, Udine, Friuli Italy

The most alluring quality of fate is its absolute unexpectedness. There are always those times when the universe simply aligns and Destiny walks into the bar and makes her way towards you. You weren't even looking for it, but sometimes you don't choose Destiny, Destiny chooses you. I walked into a restaurant and through the crowd, I spotted the Moretti La Rossa, and said I'll have that. The La Rossa's fastball was really moving, unlike it's weaker sister beer. The chocolate malt flavoring was exceptionally delightful. The cherry undertones presented a Russell Stoverish pleasant surprise. The beer had a practiced velvety smooth quality. It was a more chocolatey Sam Ocktoberfest. La Rossa was bringing the High heat with a 7.2 ABV. Now, admittedly there are times when a beer just tastes better than normal, it could have been the batch, the environment, or a rogue bottle. 99 time out of 100 this beer could rate a 3.0, but tonight Moretti was on and it's bringing home a 4.5

Friday, August 1, 2008

Hop Ottin' IPA, Anderson Valley Brewing Co., Boonville, CA

The Hop Ottin' IPA comes out of the AVBC which judging from the picture on the label is much much different from the LBC. The Hop Ottin' has a peculiar consistency reminiscent of one of those rice beers. The IPA has a caramel apply malt flavor and there is a late whisper of hops in the aftertaste. I wouldn't consider this to be a traditional IPA, but it is different in its own right. The 7% ABV can't be laughed at either. All in all the beer gets a 3.5

My Dog Died

And by dog I mean dog in the Randy Jackson sense and by died, I mean figuratively, not literally. The Red Sox traded Hall of Famer to be Manny Ramirez, cash, Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss today for 2 Time All Star Jason Bay. Another notable 2 time All Star can be found here. See, all All Stars aren't that good. Manny has been mostly responsible for bringing much joy to the Boston area, not only with his play but his hilarious antics. It's a shame the media and Sox ownership forced this guy out of town, Baseball will be less interesting for sure. To honor Manny being Manny I downed 24 oz of Southern Tier Matt & Phin's Extraordinary Ale (after all this is a blog about beer not awesome baseball players), I then downed another 36 oz of beer to celebrate Craig Hansen being shipped to the Pirates. 24 is of course Manny's number, 36 is roughly the percent of strikes Craig Hansen throws during a typical outing.
Good Luck Manny, you'll be missed by the true Red Sox Faithful.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Censored Rich Copper Ale, Lagunitas Brewing Co., Petaluma, CA

I know what you must be thinking, not another Lagunitas beer? I know, I have reviewed several, but trust me when I say they are quality beers. The Censored Rich Copper Ale is another strong beer coming out of the Petaluma, CA brewing giant. The beer is a bit of a paradox as it has a very strong malt taste, but comes across as a lightish ale. The beer is very smooth and has a caramel flavoring that soothes your taste buds. The beer is 5.9% ABV and rates a 3.5.
This ad is paid for by Lagunitas Brewing Company, Petaluma, CA. All Rights Reserved. (Just Kidding)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Weekend Notes

I apologize for being MIA as of late, but I've spent the last 2 weekends moving and well the new pad doesn't have the internet yet. I promise you'll get at least 2 more posts out of me this week. I have some surprisingly good beers to review, some of them in my fridge and some that I will be posting this week.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Green Monsta Ale, Wachusett Breing Co., Westminister, MA

The Wachusett Green Monsta Ale was pretty much a no brainer order when I saw it on the menu, how can you avoid a beer with that name? That's right, you can't. The Monsta's floral hops migrate to the roof of your mouth creating a magnificent hop ceiling that traps in the flavor. The hops are hanging in your mouth daring your throat to swallow the surging bitterness. The beer is labeled as a "big" pale ale so it is definitely full bodied. The beer packs a 7.30% ABV. It appears this beer is only available on tap, so keep an eye out. The Monsta gets a 3.5

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Founders Red's Rye, Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI

As I mentioned earlier I just had to head back to Bukowski's to try that Founders Red's Rye. Honestly, it was different than I remembered, but it was still good. The beer was more light bodied than I remember, and slightly less malty. I loved the bitterness of the hops and the essence of apple in the flavor. The beer also has a 6.8% ABV. So despite being thrown for a loop I still enjoyed this beer immensely. The Red's Rye gets a 4.0

Monday, July 14, 2008

Weekend Notes

Long weekend this weekend, I've determined that there is nothing worse than a PBR hangover, although I think being slipped that last Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball Ale at 9%ABV is what really threw me over the top. I made another trip to Bukowski's Tavern on Saturday to follow up on that Founder's Red Rye I had tried on my previous trip. That, and my other beers will get reviewed later this week. Finally someone wrote in asking for a baseline for my rankings, suggesting I rate several more popular beers. Unfortunately, this is not something I can do off the top of my head, I'd have to go out and try those beers first to give an accurate ranking. I did try and provide an accurate description of my rankings here, so for now this will have to do.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Long Hammer IPA, Red Hook Brewery, Seattle, Washington

The Red Hook Long Hammer IPA is your average run of the mill IPA, just like Ma used to make. It's kine of like in the movie Beautiful Girls when Willie is asked to rate his girlfriend on various qualities and each time he says "Good, solid seven and a half," implying that she is decent, but nothing overly special. That's how I feel about this beer. The Long Hammer has a nice apricot taste, it's hopped well, aside from that, nothing to really write home about. The ABV is 6.51%. The IPA gets a 3.0.

Friday, July 11, 2008

HopDevil, Victory Brewing Co., Downington, PA

The Victory HopDevil ale is a stronger IPA, leaning towards the Imperial IPA ranking in my opinion. The ale is medium bodied and has an enduring, never ending bitterness consistent with an Imperial IPA. The HopDevil is spicily hopped and it's notes are more floral than fruity. The beer is 6.7% ABV so it is definitely bringing the heat. The HopDevil gets a 4.0.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dear Mr BeerCrusade,

I realize that many of you leave comments that I rarely respond to or do so several posts later so the answers may not get seen by everybody, therefore I've posted these comments and my responses below:

Mike said: “I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Mr. Beer Crusade and European beers don't have a good relationship.”

BC: Interesting thought, are you basing this on the fact I dislike Belgian Ales? Europe is bigger than just Belgium; I don’t think you need to be in Mensa to know that. What about the fact that IPA, a British style ale, is my favorite style of beer? I think you are wrong about my anti-European stance, but this is something we can watch out for.

Jay said: “so how does one one get on the board of directors?”

BC: To be honest the qualifications are still being determined. Reading the blog and commenting is a good start. This will have to be thought out more carefully and will require a more through posting. The idea of a Board of Directors really stemmed from an email from a friend asking if I was at the Harpoon Brewery in the middle of a work day for a work outing to which I wittily responded “I’m at a Beer Crusade Board of Directors” meeting, since there were several people on the email, the idea really snowballed from there.

Bill said: “I heard at Bukowski's if you drink x number of beers you get a mug in your honor that hangs behind the bar. Sounds like something this group would have no interest in but I thought I'd mention it anyway.”

BC: I’ve heard that if you drink all the beers on the menu, you get your own mug inscribed with your favorite writer. This would pose some issues for myself, apparently I hate European beers, thus could never get through all the beers, also who would I choose for my favorite writer? I mean I’ve found bits of Jeff Foxworthy’s biography downright hilarious, or would I go high brow and choose someone like Virgil? Who would your author be?

Myownworstcritic said: “Apropos of everything, you need to add an RSS feed to your blog so I don't have to visit everyday--and can see your posts in my email. There should be an option for RSS feeds within the admin section of Blogger.”

BC: you can subscribe by clicking on the Subscribe to: Posts (Atom) link at the bottom of the blog page. Also would it kill you just to keep as your homepage?

Jeven said: “I love the blog. It's maybe the best blog I've ever read. Can't wait to read your backlog of reviews. This is going to sound very business school, but what about depicting the reviews in "Beer Matrix" with beer type along one axis, and rating along the other? It could be a PDF, printable companion guide to beers that all Crusaders could take with them to the bar.”

BC: I’ve done what I can with the axis on the right so you can choose beer style or rating, however providing a PDF carry around copy may be impossible. Basically, what you need to invest in is a Blackberry or IPHONE so you can access from just about anywhere. Coincidentally, I created the blog so I could go into the liquor store and have an idea of what beers I’ve tried as well as what I wanted to try just by searching on my Blackberry. By the way, starting off your comments like Jeven did above definitely gets you a leg up in the Board of Directors race.

Thanks for reading and taking the time to write.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Does this thing work?

First off, I think I've answered the accusations, that I haven't been posting enough, quite well the past few days, so I hope you naysayers are satisfied. Second, I've received a random request that I could not answer so I thought I'd throw it out to you all to see if you can help out, I received a question regarding Black Horse Ale which was apparently brewed in Medford, MA in the Sixties and then bought by Gennessee Brewery in the 70's. If Anyone knows anything about this beer please call John Walsh, er I mean email me or post in comments. I'd appreciate the help.

And for everyone else, I have a few things to post the next few days to lead you into the weekend.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Delirium Tremens, Brouwerij Huyghe, Melle, Belgium

The only reason why I tried the Delirium Tremens was because it won the "Wheel of Indecision" Spin when I went to Bukowski's. Needless to say, the beer was the winner and I was the loser. If I have not made it clear, Belgian Ales are not my favorite. In fact I think they all taste like dry pot pourri air fresheners sprayed into your mouth from an aerosol can. So instead of continuing with this charade of a review, here are the final details. The beer is 8.5% ABV and gets a 2.5.
There are 2 cool things about this beer, the first is that Delirium Tremens is Latin for trembling delirium, aka the "DTs", the violent sickness induced by withdrawal after alcohol abuse. Second, there is something called the Confrerie van de Roze Olifant, or the Brotherhood of the Pink Elephant, the Brotherhood was founded to promote the Delirium Tremens product. As well know from movies, Brotherhoods are always sinister and I cannot wait for this one to appear in the next Dan Brown novel.

Arrogant Bastard Ale, Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, CA

Stone's Arrogant Bastard Ale is not exactly what I expected when I ordered it. I was expecting a darker beer as the name and logo suggests. However, instead I got a lighter tasting beer that was probably the best thing I ordered at Bukowski's that night. Behind the overwhelming alcoholly bite, there was a whisper of grape fruit and other citrus flavors. This fruity offset provided an intriguing yin to the overbearing infused alcohol yang. This is definitely a strong ale as it packs a 7.2% ABV. I liked what I got from Stone and I may have to find more of their beers. The Bastard gets a 3.5.

Elephant, Carlsberg Brewing, Copenhagen, Denmark

Carlsberg Elephant stampeded onto the blog announcing it's presence as the first malt liquor with authority. The underbelly of Malt Liquors may reside in the Colt 45's and the Olde English's, but Carlsberg, Denmark's most upstanding brewery, has thrown it's hat into the ring. The Elephant staged such a fantastic assault on my taste buds I believe my eyes actually teared. The Elephant has a very dark biting taste which I had to summon all my courage and duende to get past to not leave a wounded Elephant behind. On the positive, ordering the beer was quite fun, it provided us with another of our elephant themed beers for the evening and it did provide a 7.2% ABV. Unfortunately these things did not get it out of a 1.0 ranking.

Old Scratch Amber Lager, Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick, MD

The Old Scratch Amber Lager is a delightful lager, that can be confused as an ale (as Bukowski's labeled it). The lager is medium bodied and has a coppery look when poured into a glass. The taste is a hybrid of caramel and coffee flavors that provide a smooth all around gustatory appeal that is enjoyable. The beer's 5.5% ABV is expected for this type of beer and it rates a 3.5

Monday, July 7, 2008

Harpoon Brewery, South Boston, MA

Harpoon Brewery – The most recent Beer Crusade Board of Directors Meeting was held on July 1st at Harpoon Brewery as part of one of their daily tastings. Harpoon’s Boston Brewery does not conduct tours, it however does have tastings almost daily at 4pm where you can sit, learn a little about some beer and try the 12 or so beers they have on tap for FREE. They are only allowed to pour 4 oz. mugs, but if there is a small crowd you can really put some back. Harpoon is also in the midst of its Harpoon 100 Barrel promotion where they have current or guest brewers brew 100 barrels of any style of beer they want. We were lucky enough to have two of those on tap when I was there. I have very brief reviews below as 4 oz is a very small portion for me to truly capture the essence of a beer. Also since some of the below mentioned beers are 100 Barrel series, they will not be on the market very long. So here goes:

Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Steve Stewart’s Firth of Forth Ale – This beer was like a Guinness Light, not a light beer, but not overpowering like Guinness can be, i.e. it wasn’t like drinking a loaf of bread. . The beer was full bodied, but was chocolate malty smooth. Unlike Guinness, it didn’t end with that metallic aftertaste, so I actually enjoyed the beer. 5.4% ABV and was rated a 3.0.

Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Old Rusty’s Red Eye Ale – This is a spicy rye ale that comes of as a very acidic brown. The rye added a dimension to the beer I hadn’t tried before and it really threw me off. My review probably can’t do this justice in just 4oz, but it came off unfavorably. The beer is a 6.5% ABV and got a 2.5.

Harpoon Brown Session Ale – Nice caramel taste. The beer is slightly carbonated which takes away from the enjoyment as I tend to prefer smoother brown ales. The ale has a 4.3% ABV and rates a 3.0.

Harpoon Ale – This ale is lighter than I remembered in the past. There is an apple fruitish taste that hides behind the hops. This beer definitely surprised me and I may need to add it to my regular rotation. I’ll hold off on that though until I get to enjoy it out of the bottle. The beer has a 5.0%ABV and gets a 3.0 with a bullet!

Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Triticus Ale – This is more of a wheat wine than a beer. The Jujy Fruit smell is overpowering and knocks you over. The Triticus has a silky feel to it as it glides over your palette. The beer is very fruity, and alcohol intensive packing either a 14.3% (Brewery) or 11.5% (website) ABV depending on whom you want to believe. This is definitely a one trick pony beer, because if you have more than one you’re basically stuck on your couch until your body begins to function after processing all that alcohol. Definitely worth trying if you can find it. It was actually brewed by some lesser famed Boston beer blogging brothers whose name I now forget. Definitely a 3.5, possibly more if I could try it again.

Overall I definitely recommend attending a Harpoon tasting, or for that matter a HarpoonFest. The beers are all very good, with some being exceptionally so. Of course the tasting is held right in the Harpoon Store, so you may have a few too many sips and end up with a Harpoon Cycling shirt you’ll never wear, but it’s all in good fun. I also learned a few things while at the Brewery, the first being that I now have a Board of Directors and people are interested in being a member, and two an acquaintance of mine who happens to work at Harpoon is apparently Mr. Harpoon. He’s won every company award it seems, so congrats to you fine sir, keep up the good work.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Poleeko Gold Pale Ale, Anderson Valley Brewing Co., Boonville, CA

The Poleeko Gold Pale Ale is a lighter floral version of it's Pale Ale counterpart, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. This is a medium bodied beer whose floral tones give it a summery feel. The beer is 5.5% ABV, but it feels less than that upon consumption. There is a whisper of hoppiness at the beginning of the sip, but the hops do not permeate throughout the beer. The Poleeko gets a 3.0

Bukowski's Tavern, Boston, MA

Bukowski’s Tavern – Great atmosphere in this beer bar. They have a revolving draught beer lineup as well as a generous bottle selection. The bar definitely attracts an eclectic bunch, many sporting visible tattoos. Don’t let this fool you, the patrons know their stuff. The staff also is very knowledgeable. I was joined at Bukowski’s by 3 college friends, two of them in their better Abercrombie & Fitch Summer fashions, which only got us dirty looks from about everyone in the bar. Good thing, my other friend and I stepped up, didn’t shave and sported some serious beards. At least everyone stepped up and didn’t order Miller Lite, we went round and round trying different beers and enjoying our $1.69 hamburgers and no that’s not a typo. By round 5, we all got a little adventurous and opted for the Wheel of Indecision. The Wheel of Indecision is a wheel of fortune-like wheel with about 20 different beers on it. Our server, Grace, spun for each of us and of course I drew the short straw and was awarded a Belgian Ale. Abercrombie & Fitch Super Fan #1 was awarded the Founder's Red Rye which may have been the best beer I got a chance to try all night. Abercrombie & Fitch Super Fan #2 was awarded Oskar Blues’ Old Chubb, a Grace favorite, and the beer whose name we had the most fun with all night. At one point there was also an elephant theme as 3 beers had elephants on them. I know weird. Lastly, we were validated at the end of the night when our server basically said “I thought when you guys came in you would suck, but you were actually quite fun.” All in all a great night with some good and bad beers mixed in. The beers I had were:

Round 1: Anderson Poleeko Gold Pale Ale
Round 2: Flying Dog Old Scratch Amber Ale
Round 3: Carlsberg Elephant
Round 4: Stone’s Arrogant Bastard Ale
Round 5: Delirium Tremens (Wheel of Decision Winner)
Round 6: Brubaker

Reviews of course will follow in time. If you are in the area and looking for some a wide variety of beers. I definitely recommend this place.

Midweek Notes

Just wanted to let everyone know there will be a lot posted in the next few days once I get a few minutes to do so. I spent the last two days at Bukowski's Tavern, Harpoon Brewery and the Junction sampling all sorts of good and bad beers. I should be knocking back about 9 reviews. Good times.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Overdue Notes

Sorry for the lack of posts as of late, I am in the midst of moving and we've turned off the Internet at my current place until we move to the new one. Hopefully this week I will get some good beers in as I am planning on meeting some folks at Bukowski's Tavern which has an awesome selection of beers as well as a "Wheel of Indecision" where the bartenders spin a wheel and pick your beer. Sounds like my kind of place.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Peroni Brewery, Rome, Italy

The Peroni Nastro Azzurro has given me some hope that I can enjoy a beer containing Saaz hops. I enjoyed a few of these Peroni's the other night at dinner and I found the beer did resemble the dreaded Pilseners I've had, but it didn't have that hoppy overbite that I previously attributed to the Saaz hop. It was a more constrained flavor that I found, with a hint of citrus flavors. The beer has a 5.1% ABV. The beer apparently battles Moretti for dominance in Italian restaurants as the Italian beer to have. Although, as far as marketing purposes, I give the nod to the mustachioed Moretti. The Peroni gets a 3.0.

Smuttynose IPA, Smuttynose Brewing Co., Portsmouth, NH

The Smuttynose IPA is a progressive beer, meaning that you enjoy the different ingredients throughout the beer tasting phase. The beer starts of with a malty taste, it then switches into a more fruity essence before leaving you with a bitter hop sensation. This IPA is good for the Summer, it's light tasting but packs a punch with a 6.6% ABV. The beer gets a 3.5

Sunday, June 22, 2008

American Craft Beer Fest - It Was AWESOME!!

OK the event was as great as expected. I beat my friends to the fest so I had a few minutes alone inside the festival. The festival served beer from the left center and right with food and porta potties in the wings. Sorry no pictures because I forgot a camera. I immediately hit a few stands I had targeted from the website and instantly I knew I was in trouble. I had hit 6 stands in about 10 minutes and the pours were bigger than the 2oz advertised. I also figured out it would be really hard to track all the beers I was trying so I gave up pretty quickly, but here are the notes on the ones I tried. Not full reviews because honestly I couldn't due a review on a 2oz beer justice:
Avery Brewing Company, Ellie's Brown Ale Boulder, CO - A chocolate smokey brown. Similar to a porter.
Bear Republic Brewing Co, Crazy Ivan Healdsburg, CA - honeyish, despite the great name, disappointing
Brewery Ommegang, Ommegang Ommegeddon, Cooperstown, NY - belgian ale, very similar to La Fin Du Monde
Great Divide Brewing Co, Titan IPA, Denver, CO - a very light IPA, only a hint of hops
Lagunitas Brewing Co, Hop Stoopid, Petaluma, CA - very bitter and hoppy.
Mayflower Brewing Co., Mayflower Pale Ale, Plymouth, MA - very light pale ale
Newport Storm Amber - light, honeyish terrible
Port Brewing Co., Shark Double Red Ale, San Marcos, CA - very alcoholly red ale
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, Prohibition, San Francisco, CA - wheaty grain taste light, no real malt flavor
Tuckerman Brewing Co., Tuckerman Pale Ale, Conway, NH - very light and fruity almost flat.
Of course I had more than this, but I couldn't keep up with my in depth notes from above (yes it appears all the beers are "light". I did have to finish off the night with a Harpoon IPA to go out on a high after my second to last beer was terrible. I didn't walk away with a new favorite beer which isn't surprising after all I tasted 20+ beers and they eventually all mashed together. The Duck Rabbitt Craft Brewery received rave reviews from my friends. All in all a great event and worth attending next year.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fire Rock Pale Ale, Kona Brewing Company, Honolulu, HI

Since I've been slacking a bit on the reviews I've decided to recycle a review I wrote to friends last fall after a trip to Coronado. Here goes: The Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale begins as a smooth caramel delight similar to a Sam Adams Octoberfest, however it accelerates and ends with a real hoppy finish. This kind of combination makes this beer so enjoyable and definitely targets my wheel house as far as beer preference goes. This beer tracks at 6% ABV so it also has some kick. The Fire Rock gets a 3.5.

Overdue Update

Sorry for the lack of content as of late, but I've encountered a few problems in getting some new beers reviewed. First off, I've been in the process of moving which sucks. Secondly, I've hit some restaurants/bars with such a generic offering of beers I haven't been trying anything new. This weekend however I am hitting the American Craft Beer Fest so I should have a few things to write about when my headache goes away. Lastly several readers have pointed out an error in my rankings (yes I am fallible), I underanked the Harpoon IPA, this is definitely a 4, not a 3.5. I've changed accordingly. I cannot believe I ranked it low as it is an all time favorite of mine. Mea culpa.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Harpoon IPA, Harpoon Brewery, South Boston, MA

Harpoon IPA has long been a favorite of mine and I credit this beer as the beer that turned me on to IPAs in the first place. The Harpoon is decidedly strong, and you are cognizant of that fact from the first whiff of hops as you put the glass to your lips. The first sip brings an onslaught of Cascade hops, that eases into a tangy bitterness. The beer finishes with a surprising fruitiness. The IPA has 5.9% ABV, but if you've ever attended a Harpoonfest, your head thinks this might be understated the following morning. I rate the Harpoon IPA a 4.5.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Weekend Notes

Not too much to report this weekend. I spent too much of the time moving, not enough drinking. I will have one or two reviews though this week. Just a quick link here for those in the Boston area. surveyed the local beer bars. Pretty interesting.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Shipyard Fuggles IPA, Shipyard Brewing Co., Portland, Maine

The Fuggles IPA is not your father's IPA. I'd classify it as a more a Heffewizen as it has a lighter summery feel. There is a bitter wheatish taste and the end of the sip. The opening sip is dominated by a fruity flavor that leads into a hop tardiness that struggles to overpower the fruitiness and ultimately fails. This is the perfect IPA for a person who doesn't want an IPA, but wants to look cool by ordering an IPA. The ABV on the Fuggles IPA is 5.8%, not too shabby. This isn't an IPA I'd order if I were looking for an IPA, but I could see the benefits of drinking this on a nice summer afternoon. The rating is 2.5.