Best Brews August 2010

August was a good month. I got to visit a brewery and try a lot of great brews. Here are the beers that got top honors in August:

1. Great Divide Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti

Yummy stout. Lots of coffee, chocolate and roasted malts.

2. Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA

Fresh hops, lots of pine. Awesome IPA. One of the best.

3. Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale

Caramel sweetness married to woody smokiness. Count me in.

4. Green Flash Le Freak

A Belgian IPA. Yes, it is as good as it sounds.

5. Hitachino Nest Weizen

A Japanese hefe that delivers. I would have this again and again.

Honorable Mention: Victory Saison Du BUFF, Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA

North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

This was the second brew of the night. I really wish that it was colder so I could start drinking heavier beers more. I’ve heard a lot of great things about this brew, and it also gets some comparisons to Yeti. It also has some history behind the name, which I’m also a fan of.

ABV: 9%

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to wikipedia, “Rasputin was a Russian mystic who is perceived as having influenced the latter days of the Russian Emperor, his wife Alexandra, and their only son Alexei. Rasputin had often been called the ‘Mad Monk,’ while others considered him a ‘strannik’ (or religious pilgrim) and even a starets (ста́рец, ‘elder,’ a title usually reserved for monk-confessors), believing him to be a psychic and faith healer.”

Random: Not a very attractive dude, is he?

I’ve wanted to try this brew for awhile. On the pour, a tan head that was only one finger high was left. The dark brown body hid any carbonation from view. This brew was kept way too cold. The nose was muted, so I left it for about ten minutes. Once it warmed, there was lots of burnt malts and coffee and chocolate on the nose. On the first sip, it was a lot of coffee and almost creamy. It was a little bitter, but well-balanced. This stout was well bodied without being too thick or syrupy. The 9% ABV only made an appearance on the finish with a slight alcohol burn, but all-in-all, the booze was pretty well hidden. The finish lingered and was pretty bitter. There was also more carbonation than I thought would be on this one. This was a really enjoyable stout, but not quite as good as the Yeti. I would definitely have this again without question.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel

Last night, I headed out to Stuff Yer Face with some friends to take some notes on my first article for I said that I wasn’t going to do a beer review, but after trying this brew, I had to review it. It was also on my list of brews that I wanted to try and last time I was at Stuff Yer Face, they just kicked the keg of it.

ABV: 5.3%

Style: Dunkelweizen

Trivia: According to the German Beer Institute: “Dunkel means dark in German (as opposed to weiss, which means white) and Weizen means wheat. Like a Hefeweizen, Dunkelweizen is made from a mixed mash of wheat and barley malts, but unlike a Weissbier, it also contains a large array of lightly to thoroughly caramelized or roasted malts that give it both its color and its complexity.”

Random: I like Hefeweizen, and I like roasted malts, so this should work.

This beer was poured into a half liter glass. The color was a dark nut-brown color, not unlike Newcastle Brown. But, this brew was cloudy with a one finger white head and no visible carbonation due to the cloudiness. The head left minimal lacing. On the nose, there was a lot of banana, wheat and spice, which was to be expected. On the taste, there was still a lot of banana, but not as much carbonation as I expected. I also got some spice, mostly clove, and some wheat. The finish was quick and unremarkable, like a hefe. I thought this was really good. It was a bit heartier than a normal hefe, but not overbearing. I thought it was almost a bit nutty. I would definitely have this again. Awesome brew. You could almost get away drinking this in the fall.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA

This was a beer that I’ve read a lot of great things about and have been waiting to try. Earlier last week, I tried the Hop Rod Rye from Bear Republic and wasn’t floored. It was a solid beer, but not jaw-dropping amazing. This was also purchased in a bomber.

ABV: 7%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: This brew won gold at the Great American Beer Festival for American-Style Strong Pale Ale.

Random: I tried to figure out why the brew was called Racer 5, but there is no real information on the website. The website is actually pretty lame. But, if they make good beer, that doesn’t matter.

This poured with a three finger white head that was quite thick. The body of the brew was golden and cloudy with visible carbonation. On the nose, I got lots of pine and grapefruit. I kept saying that it smelled like “fresh hops.” It had one of the best noses on a brew that I’ve ever encountered. If the taste on this brew was anything like the nose, I was to be in for a treat. On the taste, I get exactly what I smelled on the nose. This brew was heaping with notes of fresh pine and grapefruit with a hint of honey. This was a little thicker than the Flying Fish, but not cloying. This is very hoppy, but not oppressive. The finish was quick with some bitterness. This is an awesome beer. I kept saying that it was fantastic while I was drinking it. I would have this again in a second. So yummy!

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout

This was the third beer of the day (we were there for awhile, so my palate had some time to recover). Nic’s cousin likes stouts, and after having the Chocolate Oak Aged, I knew that I had to bring some Great Divide, if I could find it. The beer store only had the regular Yeti, which I’ve never had, so I grabbed a bomber of that.

ABV: 9.5%

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to wikipedia, “A yeti is an apelike cryptid said to inhabit the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet.”

Random: This is an interesting name for a stout. I guess maybe because the beer is so good, it’s almost mythical?

This poured a deep black colored body with a tan two-fingered head which left lacing on the glass. You cannot see anything through this brew. On the nose, there was coffee and roasted malts. Also, I got some bittersweet chocolate. The nose became more fragrant as it warmed. On the taste, I got lots of coffee and chocolate. There was also more carbonation to the beer than I expected. I really enjoyed the taste. As the brew warmed, the coffee seemed to overtake the chocolate a bit. A few things were surprising to both me and my drinking pal. First, the IBUs were almost 60, and on the taste, I wouldn’t have put it nearly that high. Second, this beer is 9.5%, where is the alcohol in the taste? If the beer were a little lighter, this would make it dangerous. I wouldn’t call it syrupy, but this beer has body, so I could only have one or two. All-in-all, fantastic beer. I would definitely have this again unless I could get the Oak Aged. Definitely try this.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Flying Fish HopFish IPA

This was one of the beers that Nic’s cousin had that he considers a “go-to” beer. I’ll actually be visiting the brewery in a few weeks for my birthday. I’ve never had this one before and I was in an IPA mood, so I was more than willing to try it.

ABV: 6.3%

Style: English India Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the Flying Fish website, they recommend this beer as a pre-meal drink as hops are a great appetite stimulant.

Random: I just noticed that the Flying Fish logo has propellors on it. Very clever.

This brew poured with a one finger white head that didn’t leave any real lacing and dissipated quickly. The body was a clear copper color with moderate visible carbonation. On the nose, I got some hops and a hint of nuttiness. Overall, the nose wasn’t overly fragrant and somewhat boring. On the taste, there was some moderate bitterness, nothing crazy. The taste is mildly hoppy with some, albeit limited, citrus. The carbonation also makes more of an appearance on the taste. I would put the IBUs at about 50 (after doing some research, I found out they were 39 IBU, so pretty close). This isn’t really what I would expect from an IPA. It’s so much more mild that what I’m used to (after doing additional research and finding out this is considered an English IPA, this makes sense, I was expecting more of an American IPA). There was no real booze noticeable, so I assume that this would be a good session beer (and at 6.3%, that’s an accurate assessment). I understand why this could easily be a good “go-to” beer. These go down pretty easy and have some nice flavor, but it won’t knock your socks off.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Southampton Publick House Double White Ale

On Saturday, Nic and I went to her cousin’s house for lunch, which turned into dinner. He’s also into beer, so we tried a bunch of different ones (so expect a lot of posts). I forgot to grab Nicole’s camera, so there aren’t any pictures of the brews. This first one, I grabbed a six-pack of. I’m stuck in between summer and fall beers now and this was chilled in the case at the beer store. I’ve also read some good things about it, so I grabbed it up.

ABV: 6.7%

Style: Witbier

Trivia: This is called a “double white” because it is a double strength or double gravity version of a Belgian White.

Random: I seriously can’t wait for it to be cool. It is way too hot. I hate the summer. Ugh.

This brew poured with a two finger pure white head that left minimal lacing. There was a lot of carbonation visible through the straw yellow body that was slightly cloudy. On the nose, there was lots of citrus that manifested mostly as lemon. There was not a lot of spice apparent on the nose, which surprised me. On the taste, the spice came out to play. I also got some banana on the taste, which I didn’t expect since this isn’t a hefe. The carbonation that is visible through the body comes out to dance on the tongue. The citrus also works in concert with the other flavors. The brew finishes quick with citrus. This is what would be a nice alternate to a “summer” type of beer. It’s light and fruity, but not watery. It is especially good served very cold. I would definitely have this again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0