Long Trail Double Bag

I ended up at my local watering hole with my friend to watch the game and have a beer. Although they advertise that they have “20 craft beers,” I find that the bottles tend to be on the older side. Meaning, they always have seasonal beers that are out of season (although the beer that I’m trying isn’t a seasonal). Yet, since my options around my house are quite limited, I always tend to pick beers off of this list. So, here’s one of the Long Trail beers that I haven’t gotten to review yet.

ABV: 7.2%

Style: Altbier

Trivia: According to the brewery website, this beer was original offered only in the tasting room as a special treat to visitors. It was later released as a year round beer.

Random: I’ve only had 2 other altbiers, Long Trail Ale and Shiner Old Time Alt.

When this beer was served to me, I politely asked the server for a glass. She then rolled her eyes and handed me a pint glass. I love people that are happy with their job. Anyways, it poured with a half a finger of pure white head that dissipated really quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a slightly cloudy copper color with no visible carbonation. The nose was pretty muted (probably because it was served ice-cold and I had to let it warm up a bit) and I got notes of nuts and a hint of caramel. The taste was definitely nutty and followed up with maple, caramel and maybe even toffee. It definitely leaned towards the sweeter side of things, but wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet. The nuttiness lasted on the finish with a hint of hops. This was a moderately carbonated beer. It said on the bottle that this was best by 2/2011, so I don’t know if some of the flavors deteriorated over time. For me, this beer was only alright, but I would be willing to give it another shot.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Great Divide Hercules Double IPA

I’m currently watching the Phillies/Red Sox game. I really can’t stand Beckett. It’s probably because I’ve always been surrounded by Yankees fans that I subconsciously dislike them. But, I really can’t stand Beckett. Maybe it’s because of his dorky necklaces or because he acts like a big baby when he plays poorly or maybe just because he’s a Red Sox. Or, it’s probably all of the above. Anyways, right now, the Phils are leading 5-0 in the bottom of the seventh. And, I kinda love Cliff Lee. So, onto the brew for the night.

ABV: 10%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Hoppier, maltier and with more alcohol than a standard IPA, Hercules Double IPA definitely is not for the faint of heart. Hercules Double IPA is, however, an elixir fit for the gods. A brash but creamy wonder, Hercules pours a deep orange-coppery color, forming substantial lace in the glass. Hercules Double IPA delivers a huge amount of piney, floral, and citrusy hop aroma and flavor from start to finish. A hefty backbone of nutty, toffee-like malt character balances Hercules’ aggressive, punchy hop profile.”

Random: I can’t wait until the weekend, and it’s only Tuesday. Not a good sign.

This brew poured with a two finger tan head that dissipated and left some mild lacing on my Flying Fish tulip glass. The body was a clear copper color with visible “stuff” floating in it and moderate carbonation to boot. The nose had definite pine and citrus notes with some sweetness to it. The taste was definite pine with some notes of citrus and the sweetness came out at the end. I also got a bit of bread on it. The brew was definitely oily and resin-y. The other thing that surprised me about this was that although there was a bit of alcohol warming at the end, it was nothing like 10% should taste like. The finish was loooong and bitter with lots of pine. Just how I like it. This was one of the better brews of this style that I’ve had. Yet again, I’m floored by Great Divide. Grab this when you can.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Anderson Valley Hop Ottin’ IPA

Although I drank a few brews yesterday, I didn’t review any. This was because I got up at 4 AM on Sunday to throw pork in the smoker to make pulled pork. I also brined the thing for 12 hours before and made a rub. 13 hours later (and with homemade barbecue sauce), I had myself a pulled pork. And man, it was good. But, by 10 PM last night, I was absolutely exhausted. So, a new night, a new beer.

ABV: 7%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Hop Ottin’ IPA is, just like Anderson Valley itself, easy for anyone to appreciate while offering depth and complexity for those who take the time to savor. Brilliant copper color with a lingering, lacy white head. The nose sings of grapefruit, pine needles, citron, roses, and bergamot. The flavor is rich in the citrusy, resiny flavors typical of the Pacific-Northwest hops packed into this beer, balanced artfully with a solid malt character and crisp bitterness leading to a beautifully dry, light herbal finish. More than just a hop lover’s dream, Hop Ottin’ IPA is a balanced beer for the ages. As with all of our products, Hop Ottin’ IPA is never sterile filtered nor heat pasteurized.”

Random: I put Dr. Pepper in my barbecue sauce and it was pretty darn good. I can’t wait to try it on ribs.

This brew poured with about two fingers of tan head that left significant lacing on the glass. The body was a clear copper color with moderate visible carbonation. The nose presented with definite pine hops with a bit of malt and citrus on the background. On the first sip, I got definite pine to it, but it was quickly followed up with caramel malt with some toffee notes. The pine especially came through at the end with some citrus as well. The body of the brew was medium thickness and the carbonation was well matched. I was surprised that the 80 IBUs were so balanced by the malt. The alcohol on this was dangerously hidden. This was an incredibly enjoyable beer and one that really surprised me. I would definitely have this again. Great beer!

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Stoudts Brotherly Suds 2 (BS2)

After we hit the Ale House, we made our way to Brauhaus Schmitz. This is a place that I’ve been wanting to try for awhile. German food with a great beer list? Count me in. When I saw this on the list, I figured I had to try it, because I may not get to again. And the food at the Brauhaus is amazing, by the way. It was so good that I took two orders of potato pancakes to go…

ABV: 4.8%

Style: American Pale Lager

Trivia: According to Atlanta Beer Master, “The collab features Tom Kehoe (Yards), John Trogner (Troegs), Brent Kintzer (Stoudt’s), Bill Covaleski (Victory) and Gordon Grubb (Nodding Head). BS2 will be a lager – described by the group as a ‘brewer’s beer’ not a beer geek beer. ‘A selfish beer.’ Finding importance in layering flavors into the beer itself. Brent Kintzer from Stoudt’s organized the collaborative and provided the equipment. The malt bill was designed by Trogner & Covaleski. The hops – Grubb & Kehoe. The crowning touch of history & brewing comes from the yeast. Fuhrmann & Schmidt Brewing Company was a Philly beer staple from 1906 until they closed their doors in 1975. Brotherly Suds 2 will feature Schmidt’s yeast, bridging Philadelphia brewing past, and present.”

Random: I really like the nature of collaboration beers. The whole idea of different breweries coming together to make a beer for people to enjoy is really nice to me. I guess I’m a beer sentimentalist.

This poured with a two finger, white head that dissipated quickly. The body was a clear golden-yellow with moderate visible carbonation. The nose had some hops to it, which were surprising. It also had grass, spices and some apple. This definitely was not was I was expecting. The taste also was a little thicker than expected. I got some hops and bitterness up front, followed by malt, hay and grass. The spice really came out at the end and on the finish. This was a very crisp beer and so easy to drink. The finish lingered, but it was really nice. Since I tend to prefer ales to lagers, I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I would definitely have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Stoudts 1860 IPA

Yesterday, my sister and I went into Philadelphia for the day. We started the day at Reading Terminal Market, which being a foodie, was right up my alley. I’ve been there before, but this was before I really cooked a lot. We got a few spices that I had been looking for, picked up some awesome looking chicken sausages and ended our visit there at their beer garden. They actually had a few local beers on tap. But, since I was thirsty, I went for my old standby, Victory Hop Devil. We then made our way to McGillin’s Ale House, just by chance. I paired this beer with their Old Bay fries, which by the way, were outstanding.

ABV: ?

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to McGillin’s website, “Shortly after the Liberty Bell cracked and long before ground was broken for City Hall, McGillin’s Olde Ale House threw open its doors. Its beer taps have been flowing since 1860 — making it the oldest continuously operating tavern in Philadelphia. McGillin’s has outlasted Strawbridge’s, the Civil War and even Prohibition. McGillin’s celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2010.”

Random: I think I would try anything if there was Old Bay seasoning on it.

I chose this beer as it is the beer specifically brewed for the bar. You know, the whole “when in Rome…” thing. This brew poured with a one finger, pure white head that left some lacing on the glass. Since the bar was pretty dark, what I could see of the beer looked like a clear orange color, but I couldn’t see any carbonation. The nose was definitely subtle grapefruit, but I really had to search for it. The taste had a bit more thickness than I expected. It also presented with more carbonation. I got a lot of grapefruit with some malt sweetness to back it up. But, this wasn’t a hop bomb by anyone’s standard. It was well-balanced with the sweetness. After a few sips, I also got some floral notes. I would have thought that this was an English IPA, but after some research, I found that I was wrong. I would assume that this is a pretty low alcohol brew (5-6%), but I can’t find anything online to confirm that. This is a brew that goes down easily with a slightly bitter finish. It was also served in a nonic, which gives a beer instant sexiness to me. I would have this again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

One Year Anniversary

It’s been a year since I started this blog. Initially, I started it so that I could keep track of all the beers that I had tried and remember if I liked them or not. This was because I would constantly go to the beer store, look at a beer, think that I had tried it and liked it and then ended up getting a six-pack of a brew that I hated. I would like to think that I’ve learned a lot in the year since the blog began. I finally have appropriate glassware for most types of beer (the early days of the stemless wine glasses are over, but I still don’t have a stange…) and I think I can appreciate some of the nuances of brews a bit more. I have tried some amazing beers over the year and decided that for the one year anniversary of the blog, I would list a few things that I would like to do over the next year of the blog. It’s almost like a beer resolution list, except not on New Year’s.

1. Re-review the following beers: Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, Troegs Nugget Nectar, Stone Ruination IPA, Unibroue La Fin Du Monde and Founders Breakfast Stout.

Some of these brews I absolutely fell in love with the first time and others I just didn’t, despite the fact that I’ve read awesome reviews about them. These brews are ones that I tried pretty early on in the blog and I’m curious to see if my opinions of them changed at all.

2. Go through the blog and fix any typos, links, etc.

I’m anal retentive. Anyone who knows me understands that I’m crazy about things like grammar or spelling mistakes. So, I plan to go through all of the reviews from the past year and fix anything that is either broken or just grammatically incorrect.

3. Go to at least 5 breweries or brewpubs and do reviews on only full pints/glasses of beer.

In the past year, I’ve been to a few different breweries, brewpubs and beerfests. I’ve also done some reviews on samples. The problem is, even with full beers, my opinion of them has changed significantly by the time I get to the end of a pint. I don’t think that a 4 ounce pour is enough to get a true opinion on a brew. So, from now on, sampling brews are fine and I may talk about them in passing during a review, but I’ll only be doing reviews on full beers for that reason.

4. Brew some damn beer.

Since Christmas, I’ve had a kit to brew my own beer. I had problems with the burner and haven’t gotten a chance to call and fix it. With my luck, this probably means that the warranty is up. But, anyways, either way, I need to brew my own beer this year. I have enough room to do this outside and what could possibly make me appreciate drinking beer more than brewing my own?

5. Read the beer books I currently have.

For every holiday or birthday, my family buys me beer books. Not that I’m complaining, I love anything beer related. The problem is that I never actually sit down and read these books. This is probably a result of not really being able to relax for long periods of time. But, I have about 8-10 books all about beers and I should make time to sit down and read them.

6. Delete the beers I currently have off of the “Beers to Be Purchased” list.

I have a lot of freakin beers on that list. A lot of them are ones that I forgot why I put them on there. Every year, my plan is to delete the old ones off and start adding new ones based on the reviews I read, books, etc. A new blogging year, a new list. Easy enough, right?

7. Make a logo…?

I’ve never had a logo. Add to this, the fact that I am not really all that creative or artistic. But, luckily I have some creative friends. But, honestly, I think that it would really make the blog look better. And in the same vein, let’s go to number 8…

8. Take more non-review related pictures.

I’m notoriously camera-shy. But, I need to get over that. Pictures are interesting. Plus, it will help me document my travels. I need to start taking pictures (or rather, have them taken of me) drinking beer, at beer events, etc. and posting them. Maybe I won’t be such a random reviewer then.


9. Do a few posts where I review beers with other people.

One of the reasons that I really got into beer is the fact that I love the discussions that can be had over a great beer. Each person can find a different flavor in a beer, which makes the discussion really interesting. One of my closest buddies is now a convert, but we have completely different tastes. I have a few decent beers aging in the basement and it would be interesting to share these beers with them and see what they think and post about it.

10. Consistency.

This has been a big problem of mine. I haven’t been keeping up the facebook page or updating my untappd or posting about beer daily. Sometimes, I’ve gone weeks without updating the blog. Since my life seems to be a little more in order, I think that I should be able to post one review a night. If I forget one, I can double up on the weekends. If I happen to forget to update the facebook page, I can do a massive update once a week. Speaking of that, go to facebook and like my page…please?

11. Beers to try next year.

I know that I’ll have a much larger list of beers that I want to try next year, but here are some that I really want to make sure I get my hands on. Since I’m deleting the list from last year of beers that I wanted to try, I wanted to list a few so that I don’t forget.

Bell’s Hopslam, Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA, Dogfish Head Sahtea, Great Divide Belgian Style Yeti, Ommegang Hennepin, Sierra Nevada Torpedo, Southern Tier Mokah, Terrapin Monk’s Revenge Belgian Style IPA

Here’s to another year of great beers! Thanks for reading!

Paulaner Hefe-Weissbier Naturtrub

After I went to the gym Friday, my sister took me out to dinner to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the blog. I’m not usually a person who can consistently stick to things, so I was pretty excited to have done this for a year. I also have a bunch of ideas on how to improve the blog, some of which I shared on Friday. So, I’m excited about that. The first brew of Year 2 of the blog was a brew on draft at the restaurant. We ended up at City Streets in East Windsor. They didn’t have an overly impressive beer list, but they did have a few decent selections. I chose the Paulaner hefeweizen. I’ve had it once before, but I didn’t review it.

ABV: 5.5%

Style: Hefeweizen

Trivia: According to wikipedia, “The name of the Paulaner brewery refers to the order of friars that resided in Neuhauser Straße in Munich who were part of the order of Saint Francis of Paola. The monks had brewed beer for their own use since 1634. The beer that was permitted to be sold on holidays was a Bock style which gained local fame. After the abolition of the Neudeck Cloister in 1799, the building was converted into a penitentiary.”

Random: I stayed later at the gym so that I could read more of a new book I got (Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell), I stayed up even later that night to finish it.

This brew was sat down next to me with a lemon wedge on the glass. First order of business, took off lemon wedge. I’m all for accenting the beer, but I didn’t want it to throw the nose off for me. The beer was a cloudy orange color with half a finger of white head that dissipated quickly. It did leave some lacing on the pint glass. Since it’s unfiltered, it was hard for me to see any carbonation on the brew. The nose smelled just like a hefe should smell: banana, clove, wheat. Then, the first sip came out with exactly what a hefe should taste like. I got the same notes as in the nose and also a bit of citrus with some wheat and the beer finished quickly. This was not only crisp and refreshing, but I could put a bunch of these away with no problem. When I first started trying beers, I really enjoyed hefeweizens. For some reason, I really got away from them. I tend to classify them as a summer beer, so that could be why. After having this one, I remembered exactly what drew me to them in the first place. This one in particular could be the best hefeweizen I’ve ever had. Definitely get your hands on this one.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Triumph Framboise

My second beer of the night. This is also beer number 364 for the year. This is from the growler that my sister picked up at Triumph last week. I tasted hers at the restaurant and I was pretty impressed. I wasn’t aware of how high alcohol it was though. Anyways, I figure that this will really hit the spot while I watch Food Network. My sister and I are now obsessed with the Food Network. I’m also going to be making pulled pork this weekend (using the new smoker) and I’m very excited. So, onto the brew…

ABV: 8.6%

Style: Fruit/Vegetable Beer

Trivia: Here are some interesting facts about raspberries, “The medical benefits of raspberries include: They do not have any fat, saturated fat, sodium or cholesterol, they are high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium and folate, they can help lower high blood pressure and raspberries have an anti-inflammatory property that may help to reduce inflammation of the joints.”

Random: I love watching any sort of competition food show. I love watching how people cook under pressure.

The brew poured with almost no head, except for a hint of white on top of the cloudy reddish body. Due to the color, there was no visible carbonation. This looked like a liquid raspberry. The nose was just some tart raspberries. I didn’t get much else. The taste was a lot of raspberries, but mostly tart at the start and then with a hint of sweetness. I think that some of the carbonation dissipated from the age of the growler. I remember this being much more fresh and carbonated and I definitely enjoyed it more when I first had it. The brew was also a touch thicker than one would expect from a fruit beer. The booze was very hidden and the finish was all raspberry. I definitely enjoyed the beer when I first had it, although the flavor has definitely decreased in satisfaction since sitting in the fridge. I would definitely get this again and kill it while it was fresh. If you find yourself at Triumph, grab one of these.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

This week seriously needs to end. I haven’t been this busy at work in awhile, nor have I been this exhausted. I actually slept for eight hours last night and somehow, I’m still tired. Don’t get me wrong, my week goes much quicker when I’m busy, but I can’t wait until the weekend. I think I may be hitting up some bars in Philly with my sister. So, this beer is one that I had to pick up when I went to Massachusetts. One of the other types of alcohol that I really enjoy is the whole family of scotch/bourbon/Irish whiskey. A beer with the word bourbon in the name is definitely coming home with me.

ABV: 8.19%

Style: American Strong Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Award winning Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is a unique sipping beer with the distinctive nose of a well-crafted bourbon.  Our Kentucky Ale is aged for up to 6 weeks in freshly decanted bourbon barrels from some of Kentucky’s finest distilleries. Subtle yet familiar flavors of vanilla and oak are imparted to this special ale as it rests in the charred barrels.  Pleasantly smooth and robust, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale may also be served as an aperitif or after dinner drink.”

Random: I’ve been listening to this 90s Pandora station all day and I kinda love it. I may or may not be dancing around to Whitney Houston’s, “How Will I Know,” just saying…

Yep, I broke out the snifter for this bad boy. I was highly considering it, but once I saw that even the brewery recommended using one, how could I not? The beer poured with very little head. A very small amount remained and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear light orange-brown with moderate active carbonation. After letting the brew warm up for a few minutes (which by the way, was torture), I stuck my nose in the glass. I got some vanilla, bourbon, oak, brown sugar and a bit of booze. Once I get to have my first sip of the beer, there is no mistaking that this is a bourbon aged beer. I got the bourbon, a bit of wood and a hint of smoke and vanilla at the end. When I see a bourbon aged beer, I would expect a thicker beer, but this was a thin beer with low to moderate carbonation. It started to have more caramel notes to it as it warmed and the vanilla really came out and lasted through the finish. I was surprised at how hidden the booze was. When I first started drinking the brew, I wasn’t sure if I was the biggest fan of it. But, as it warmed, it really was a solid brew that I thoroughly enjoyed. I would definitely have this again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Wild Onion Paddy Pale Ale

I was exhausted today, for no real reason. Work was really busy too, so at least the day went by quickly. I headed off to the gym after work and had a pretty good workout. I think that I pulled my hamstring, so I had to take it easy on cardio, but otherwise a solid workout. I came home figuring that there would be no power since we had crazy storms, but I was lucky to find out that we had plenty of power. Onto tonight’s brew, yet another selection from the Massachusetts stash.

ABV: 5.6%

Style: American Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “This American-style pale ale is our flagship brand and celebrates the blending of intense hop character and crisp, malty mouthful. 5.4% ABV.”

Random: I love that the Phillies game is blacked out on ESPN because it thinks that I’m in a Philly market and don’t get the game because I don’t get all the Philly channels. Seriously?

This poured with a one finger white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a dark, hazy orange color with moderate visible carbonation on it. The nose had lots of fresh grapefruit on it. This smelled yummy. The taste…not so wonderful. I was expecting a bit of fresh grapefruit to jump out at me, and it just didn’t. The citrus was pretty muted and it transitioned quickly into an almost metallic taste (and I doubt it was because this came out of a can). There was also a bit of biscuit to it. The body was really thin and the carbonation was a bit flat. I don’t know if this was an old beer that was past its prime or what, but this really was not a great beer. The finish was a bit on the bitter side and unfortunately lingered for awhile. I wouldn’t have this beer again. Or, if I did, I’d check the freshness date (if the can had one).

Untappd Rating: 1.0/5.0