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.