Archive for May, 2011

I hate the first day of work after a long weekend. I had a full day of work and then headed off to the gym. I had a decent workout and got in about 30 minutes of cardio in. Not a bad day. The best way to cap off a day like this? Pop open a brew…

ABV: 4.2%

Style: Herbed/Spiced Beer

Trivia: According to wikipedia, “Agave nectar (also called agave syrup) is a sweetener commercially produced in Mexico and South Africa from several species of agave, including the Blue Agave (Agave tequilana), Salmiana Agave (Agave salmiana), Green Agave, Grey Agave, Thorny Agave, and Rainbow Agave. Agave nectar is sweeter than honey, though less viscous. The majority of agave nectar around the world comes from Jalisco in Mexico and the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa. However, in Mexico, in addition to coming from Jalisco, the product is also produced in the states of Michoacán, Guanajuato and Tamaulipas.”

Random: I find it interesting that this is classified as a herbed/spiced beer. It seems like there is a lot of variability in this style…

This brew poured a hazy golden-yellow with a barely there white head. The head dissipated to nothing almost instantly and didn’t leave any sort of lacing on the glass. I struggled to see some moderate carbonation on the body. The nose was definitely interesting…I got definite sweetness that reminded me a bit of honey. I also got a hint of…apple juice? Odd…anyways, the first sip is definitely crisp with a hint of sweetness. I’m going to take a wild guess on this one and say that it was the agave nectar that was added. I also got some very mild citrus on this and not much else. This was definitely a mild beer and the body was very thin. This could have definitely used a little bit more carbonation. Honestly, there just wasn’t much to this beer. I guess I just thought it would have a little more flavor than it did. This is just an eh beer for me. I wouldn’t have it again.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Today was a busy day. I spent the day smoking a brisket and two racks of ribs. I also made two different types of barbecue sauces, grilled some cornbread, Jersey white corn and some peaches. I also moved a bunch of patio stones. Who said that I wasn’t productive? This is one of the brews I picked up in Pennsyltucky and also allowed me to get the Untappd “I Believe in IPA” badge for the month….

ABV: 6%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Inspired by West Coast I.P.A.’s, but brewed with Michigan style. The Crooked Tree is heavily dry hopped to give it a big aroma of pine and citrus. The flavors are big, yet very balanced between fresh hops and malt. Often described as ‘grapefruit’ our hops give this beer an excellent fruit flavor that finishes dry, crisp, and clean. It will pour a nice deep copper color with a bit of haziness. Because of our almost patented ‘Intense Transfer Methods’ our Crooked Tree has won several medals in the India Pale Ale category.”

Random: I kinda love long weekends…the only bad part is having to go back to work.

This brew poured a cloudy dark orange color with a crazy amount of visible sediment. Very odd…definitely didn’t expect that. The head was one-finger high and pure white in color. It dissipated crazy slow and left lots of lacing on the pint glass. The nose was a lot of fresh grapefruit and citrus with a minor hint of sweetness at the end. The taste came with lots of hoppy bitterness. Yummy. I thought it had more tart grapefruit than pine on the taste. It also had moderate carbonation that helped the bitterness last through to the finish. As to be expected, not a lot of alcohol on this brew. My only complaint? I didn’t find a lot to balance this out, but it’s really a minor complaint. This is definitely a brew for the hop head. Someone who wasn’t into IPAs would not appreciate this one. With that being said, I really enjoyed this beer and would have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Whenever I’m out to eat, I always look for new brews to try. Tonight was no different. My girlfriend was sweet enough to take me out to a restaurant in Pennsyltucky. She actually said on the ride there that she didn’t know if it had a good beer list, but it looked like a place that would have decent beer. Obviously, I have her trained well. After looking at the beer list and asking the server what was on tap, I decided on the Sly Fox Route 113 IPA (it also helped that the other draft selection was one that I had already, Weyerbacher Merry Monks).

ABV: 7%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to wikipedia, “Pennsylvania Route 113 is a 46-mile (74 km) long state route in eastern Pennsylvania. The southern terminus of the route is at U.S. Route 30 Business in Downingtown. Its northern terminus is at Pennsylvania Route 611 in Tinicum Township. The route is signed as north–south although its exact alignment follows a northeast-southwest routing.”

Random: I think I’ve had a sample of this brew at the Philly Craft Beer fest. I can’t really remember much about it, so let’s see how this one is.

This brew poured a clear orange color with a nice and fluffy off white head. The room was pretty dark, so I really couldn’t get a clear picture of how much carbonation was on this bad boy. The head took awhile to dissipate and left lots of lacing on the glass. I took a nice big sniff of the beer and could not get a damn thing on the nose. The next sniff, I finally got something on my nose…a little bit of foam. For an IPA, I was really surprised that there was nothing to the nose. I struggled to find some citrus. Even the girlfriend agreed with me about the nose (which was good, because for a second I thought I was crazy). The taste had a decent amount of hop bitterness to it, coupled with the usual suspects of pine and grapefruit. There was also a decent amount of caramel malt on the end of the brew to balance out the bitterness. I didn’t get a lot alcohol on this brew, despite the 7% ABV. This was a nice crisp, IPA that went down really easily on a hot day. I would have this one again..

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

I never remembered Memorial Day being this hot. I went outside today to do some yardwork and was dripping sweat after about 5 minutes. After that, I pretty much parked myself on the couch for a few hours to watch Food Network. I keep telling myself to get up and go out since it’s a holiday weekend, but I think I’ll crack open a brew instead.

ABV: 4%

Style: Herbed/Spiced Beer

Trivia: According to wikipedia, “Juju or Ju-Ju is a word of either West African or French origin used previously by Europeans to describe the traditional West African religion. The term Juju refers to the use of such objects and other things to perform a form of ‘witchcraft.’ ‘An object of any kind superstitiously venerated by West African native tribes, and used as a charm, amulet, or means of protection; a fetish. Also the supernatural or magical power attributed to such objects, or the system of observances connected therewith; also a ban or interdiction effected by means of such an object (corresponding to the Polynesian taboo).’ The term juju, and the practices associated with it, travelled to the Americas from West Africa with the influx of slaves and still survives in some areas, particularly among the various groups of Maroons, who have tended to preserve their African traditions.”

Random: I set up my smoker today. On the list for tomorrow, smoking two racks of ribs and a brisket.

The brew poured a clear golden-orange color with lots of visible carbonation. The head was only about a half a finger, but dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. I find that the herbed/spiced category of beers has a lot of variability.  Some that I’ve had, like Nogne O Underlig Jul have been really peculiar. I have slightly higher hopes for this brew. The nose is pretty light. I got a hint of sweetness, some malt and a little bit of ginger. On the taste, the first thing that strikes me is the lack of ginger. I thought that it would be a prominent flavor, but it stays towards the finish. The other flavors that I got were some malt, but not overwhelming sweetness up front, and then nothing else really apparent. There was a lot of carbonation and the finish had nothing to it. Although this was definitely an easy drinker, there wasn’t enough to this beer to make me have it again.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

I’m trying to kill some time before I fire up the grill. There’s nothing on television and I’m sweating from working outside for the last hour. I’m currently sitting and watching Iron Chef on Food Network with the guy from Man v. Food as one of the judges. I love that show. Anyways, if you follow the blog at all, you know how much I love IPAs. This was a remnant of a six-pack I had about a month ago.

ABV: 10%

Style: American Double/IPA

Trivia: According to beernews.org, “‘Emphasizing that complexity of character can arise from simple elements, this ale is made with three malts and one hop. Its light amber color and slightly spicy malt character are derived from the use of German Dark Munich Malt and Rye Malt respectively. North American 2-row barley combines with the other grains to lay the foundation for the hop onslaught to come. Summit hops are used exclusively in the boil for bitterness, flavor and aroma but it doesn’t end there. Post-fermentation dry hopping allows the 9.5% ABV monstrosity to gently coax the citrus rind and grapefruit aroma to join the 100 IBUs already present. This beer should greet you with a pungent citrus blast, provide a spicy yet round middle and finish with a brisk, clean bitterness.'”

Random: Man v. Food did a New Brunswick episode at one of my favorite haunts, Stuff Yer Face.

This brew poured a fluffy one finger, pure white head that dissipated slowly and left significant lacing on the glass. There was some visible carbonation through the haze of the golden orange body. The nose on this brew had some pine, citrus, tropical fruits and a hint of malt sweetness on the end. This smelled like this was going to be an amazing IPA. Unfortunately, I think the nose was slightly better than the taste. This is still a solid IPA with some sticky pine, grapefruit and lots of hoppy bitterness. But, there is definitely a lack of balance in this brew that I’ve come to expect from exceptional IPAs. There is definitely some malt, but not as much as needed. The carbonation on this is just right too. It was also really crisp for a DIPA. The hops linger along for awhile. There is no hint that this is a 10% ABV brew and goes down too easily. Although it probably sounds like I’m completely panning the beer, it’s a solid B to B+ brew for me. The problem is when you compare it some of the big boys of the DIPA world, it just pales in comparison.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

I love Memorial Day weekend. Not only do I get an extra day off from work, but I get an excuse to drink beer and fire up the grill. Last night, I did, in fact, partake in not only one, but 2 beer towers for my buddy Joe’s birthday. At one point, he made a toast to craft beer and made a comment about a “macro.” I think we have a convert, folks. Anyways, I spent the morning running errands and I currently have a two-pound flank steak marinating that will be going on the grill in about an hour. To pass the time, how about a brew review?

ABV: 4.2%

Style: Altbier

Trivia: According to BeerAdvocate, “A Düsseldorf specialty, an Altbier is a German style brown ale, the ‘alt’ literally translates to ‘old’ in German, and traditionally Altbiers are conditioned for a longer than normal periods of time. Other sources note that ‘alt’ is derived from the Latin word ‘altus,’ which means ‘high’ and refers to the rising yeast. Take your pick, but the extended conditioning mellows out the ale’s fruitiness and produces an exceptionally smooth and delicate brew. The color ranges from amber to dark brown, medium in carbonation with a great balance between malt and hops. ”

Random: I forgot how much I enjoy Magic Hat #9. I had it out of the beer tower yesterday and it was really enjoyable.

I don’t have a stange, so a pint glass will have to do for this beer. The brew poured a clear copper color with a lot of visible carbonation on the body. The head was about a full finger at the poor and dissipated to a slight crown on top of the body with little lacing left. I’m really not all that familiar with altbiers. The last one that I had was in July 2010 (Long Trail Ale) and I didn’t have a stange then either. That beer really didn’t stand out to me, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. The nose was subtle with some caramel sweetness and nuttiness, but nothing offensive. The taste is much of the same, except I got a definitely floral note. The nuttiness was also a definite component and the carbonation made this a really crisp beer. There was a slight hint of bitterness, but the caramel sweetness takes the front seat. The finish was pretty quick and mild. This is probably the best Shiner beer that I’ve had to date. It was very drinkable and I could see newbies to craft beer really enjoying this. I would have this again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

This is actually another beer that I drank on Thursday night, while I was dripping sweat from no air conditioning. Tonight, I’m actually out with a buddy for his birthday at one of my favorite places. I’ll probably have another review for the night from this bar, but in case I don’t, this is a brew that I had a four-pack of and really enjoyed. I saved one of the them to review.

ABV: 9.6%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Ever since Stash Wojciechowski, the ‘Killer Kielbasa,’ created this Imperial IPA for our Big Beer Series, Big A IPA has gotten a lot of attention. Lauded by the New York Times and Men’s Journal Magazine, it’s been one of the most talked-about beers around. Brewed in very small quantities, it has also been one of the hardest-to-find. Until now. Big A IPA has everything you’d want in an India Pale Ale, only more: more hops, more malt & more flavor. Now it’s available year-round, so you can enjoy this big, flavorful beer any time you want. Na zdrowie!”

Random: Right about now, I should be partaking in a beer tower. I seriously cannot wait.

I love any excuse that I can find to break out a tulip glass. This is no exception. I’ve been craving a good Imperial IPA and hopefully this hits the spot (okay, this is kind of cheating, because I killed 3 of these in the four pack before and really enjoyed it). The brew poured with a three finger fluffy egg white head that left crazy lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy bright orange. It took awhile to dissipate as well. The nose of the beer smells like happiness, at least for a hop head like me. I got mostly resin-ey, piney hops with a hint of citrus. There was also a bit of sweetness on it. I was hoping that it was some malt to balance this bad boy out. The taste is much of what I expected: lots of piney hops, some heat from the booze (although nothing crazy) with some sweetness from the malt in the middle to balance it out. For a brew that almost hit the 10% ABV mark, it’s pretty smooth, although I have a feeling this is going to knock me on my ass. The carbonation was medium, and really goes well with this brew. The finish was a bit oily with lots of pine. Honestly, after what seems like weeks of mediocre beers, this really hits the spot. There was nothing that I could complain about, except for the fact I only had one. If you can get your hands on this brew, definitely do so.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0