Archive for October, 2012

Well, we’re getting to the point that Frankenstorm is going to make landfall. It’s pretty bad here. One of my neighbors already lost three trees. I really hope that they cancel work tomorrow. Honestly, I don’t even know how I would get there. Well, here’s the last backlogged entry, so then I could crack open another brew and do a new review!

ABV: 9%

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Baby Tree was our first Easter beer. We LOVE Easter here at Pretty Things. Usually after the long Boston winter, we’re itching to bring out the bunnies, bonnets and yellow fluffy chicks and get on with our Springtime. The Baby Tree is a real tree. This must be said. It dwells in Sexhow and carries cavorting baby-dolls and in season, a few pears appear. It belongs to great friends of Dann & Martha, and they chose to rescue these small plastic people from a landfill-fate by allowing them to ride in their pear-tree many years ago. And thank heavens they did. Our Baby Tree is a very magical, traveling tree filled with waving, happy babies, some of whom may or may not resemble Mikheil Gorbachev. There may also be some discrepancy in the number of limbs, but we cannot be sure where other baby heads may be poking through the leaves so we don’t worry ourselves about it. If you want, read our poem about it. Baby Tree beer is a Pretty Things take on the best of Abbey-style brewing from Belgium. Inspired by monastic and abbey quadruples, embellished with dark fruit flavours, not too sweet, not too heavy, it’s a springtime beer with some of the richness of late winter. It makes it perfect year round, so that’s when we offer it! You should be able to find it most months of the year, on draft or in bottle. All in all, it’s our way of bringing a bit of Springtime to you and to us, all year round. Hooray!”

Random: I finally brought a real beer glass to Katie’s house! Go me!

Yet again, I’m pulling from my Massachusetts stash. This one poured with a half a finger of tan head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown color with light carbonation visible throughout. The nose was relatively fragrant with dates, tobacco and some smoke. I also got some alcohol heat as well. The taste was big dark fruits and smoke with tobacco, which was very similar to the nose. I also got some mild candi sugar with some yeast as well. On the taste, I didn’t get as much heat as I expected. The body was thick with higher carbonation than expected. The finish was long with some sugar. It was a decent quad, but nothing mind-blowing.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Katie picked up a six-pack of this one awhile ago. It’s been on my list to try, but I just hadn’t gotten to it. I’ve really started to enjoy ESBs, although I tend to find that the American ones are just lacking a little from their British counterparts. Hopefully this one changes my mind about it.

ABV: 5%

Style: Extra Special/Strong Bitter (ESB)

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “The Scarlet Lady is a 1928 American silent drama film, written by Bess Meredyth and directed by Alan Crosland.”

Random: I really don’t understand why people don’t stay in their houses or evacuate when told to. I was out in the storm last year and it was miserable. This one is worse. Why wouldn’t you just follow directions? I seriously detest stupid people.

This brew poured with a thick, one finger, cream-colored head that dissipated slowly and left lots of lacing on the pint glass. The body was a clear, mahogany color with lots of carbonation visible throughout. The nose was sweet and nutty malt with a touch of mineral as well. The taste was mineral up front, then some nutty malt with a hint of chestnut. It also had a little bit of bitterness at the end. My first complaint? The flavor was too subtle and could easily be dialed up. My second complaint? The body was way too thin and the carbonation was way too heavy for the thin body. The finish was long with a lot of mineral qualities. This was an alright brew, but nothing to write home about.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

This was the last brew that I had at Twin Light. Our server, Kevin, is always great at recommending beers every time that I’m in there. He was shocked that I hadn’t quaffed this one, so he told me that this was what I was ordering. Well, who am I to argue? They tend to get a bunch of Ommegang brews in there and I’m always happy to try them. If you’re ever in there, try to get one on tap, I’ve never been disappointed.

ABV: 6.5%

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Trivia: This beer uses grains of paradise.

Random: I’m really liking the new labels that Ommegang is using. The other ones were a little tired and plain, in my ever so humble opinion.

This brew poured with a finger of pure white head that dissipated quickly. It left some lacing on the glass. The body was a dark orange color and cloudy. I could see some light carbonation throughout. The nose was really nice with heavy and sweet fruit. Apricot really stood out to me. The taste was even better than the nose. It was filled with golden fruit, a touch of honey and some yeast. The end of the sip had a tinge of bitterness that lasted to the finish.  The body was on the lighter side with moderate carbonation which made this incredibly drinkable. This beer was just perfection in a glass. How have I not had this one before? Definitely grab this one if you see it.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

So, this was a beer that I had at Twin Light as well. It’s weird watching News 12 now during the hurricane and hoping that Twin Light is making it through. The pictures of Atlantic Highlands and Highlands are just terrible. It looks like pretty much everything is underwater. So far, we’ve lost a few plants but we still have power. We’ll see how long this lasts.

ABV: 7.3%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We’re pretty sure HopWired is the first bottled new world India Pale Ale made with NZ grown pale ale malt and 100% unique NZ hops. We bet you’ll find nothing else like it on the shelves. Although there’s plenty of malty sweetness, this beer is all about the hops. But unlike an American IPA, which will mainly challenge you with grapefruity and pine-like flavours and aromas, the kiwi hops used in HopWired produce something more like a tropical punchbowl: Passion fruit, limes, oranges and Sauvignon Blanc grapes to name but a few. A local Marlborough winemaker even said it smelled like gooseberries… Gooseberries? When did you last actually smell a gooseberry??”

Random: I definitely don’t think that I’m getting to work tomorrow.

This one poured with a one finger, white head that dissipated slowly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy, dark orange with high carbonation visible throughout. The nose was lots of hops with some definite tropical fruit. I’d say passion fruit, grapefruit and pineapple. The taste was almost exactly like the nose, except with a decent dose of malt. It was hoppy and fruity and then the malt came up to balance it. This was really well-balanced with no booze apparent on it. The body was medium thickness with medium carbonation. I loved this brew. There was just so much going on with it and the tropical fruits made it unique. Grab one if you can!

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Last weekend, Katie and I took Liz apple picking. But, you couldn’t possibly go apple picking on an empty stomach. So, we stopped at Twin Light on the way. I’m lying, it wasn’t on the way. I totally made her go out of the way, but I was seriously dying for their eggs benedict. This brew was actually made from cascade hops from Mark’s (the owner of Twin Light) backyard. Yeah, definitely down for this.

ABV: 6%

Style: Rye Beer

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “Cascade is a variety of hop developed in the U.S.D.A. breeding program in Oregon at Oregon State University and released as a U.S. aroma variety in 1971. It originated from an open seed collection in 1956 including an English Fuggle, a Russian Serebrianker hop, and an unknown male. In addition to appealing flavor qualities, researchers were looking for resistance to downy mildew, a threat to hop yards. Cascade was named after the Cascade mountain range that runs through the states of Washington and Oregon.”

Random: I’ve become obsessed with watching wedding shows. That’s not to say that I’ve planned anything for my wedding or anything…

This brew poured with a hint of white head that left some lacing on the glass and dissipated slowly. The body was a slightly burnt yellow color with low carbonation and cloudy. The nose was really bright with lots of lemon and grass. I didn’t get any rye, though. The taste was big and hoppy with lots of citrus and really helped with the addition of rye. This is one of the first beers that I’ve had that I could really taste the rye. It was also grassy. The body was a medium thickness with medium carbonation. The finish was long as hell with hops. This was one of the first beers I could say that the rye really added something. I didn’t want this beer to end. I would definitely have this one again. If you get a chance to try it, grab one!

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Since I’ve been doing this review thing for awhile, there are certain things that I love. I love being able to add a new brewery to my categories. This one was a brew that my parents brought back from Massachusetts and the beer guy gave to them for free after he talked to me on the phone. First of all, that was incredibly nice of him (and I especially appreciated his patience on the phone with me) and second of all, I get a brew that I would never get to try otherwise. Score!

ABV: 7.8%

Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our Mystic Saison transformed by barrel aging in Bourbon barrels. Aged over 6 months resulting in smooth oak flavors and hints of bourbon. 7.8% abv.”

Random: It looks like Sandy has finally gotten to DC…I have a feeling NJ is totally screwed.

So, this brew was from the first batch. I totally felt special. This brew poured with a two finger, pure white head that dissipated at a moderate pace and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a slightly cloudy, light orange color with moderate to heavy carbonation visible throughout. The nose was definitely bourbon barrel with some vanilla. It didn’t smell like the typical saison. After I let it sit for awhile, the nose took a different turn. I got some citrus and yeast as well. The taste was not at all what I was expecting. I got citrus, yeast, coriander and some yeast. This quickly went into serious bourbon barrel with some maple and vanilla with a hint of smoke. Everything worked really well together. It was really complex but just straight out awesome. The booze was invisible. The mouthfeel was smooth and silky, although I got light carbonation than expected. The finish was quick with a hint of bourbon. I love this brew. The only thing that was more surprising? Katie loved it too! Grab this immediately!

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Clown Shoes Muffin Top

Posted: October 29, 2012 in Belgian IPA, Clown Shoes, Reviews

So, it’s 0300 and I’m sitting here watching the news about this pending hurricane. Although I really enjoyed my time in EMS (who knows, I may go back as a volly), it’s nice just sitting here watching the tv and not being worried about getting into work. It’s really different. I remember Hurricane Irene and sleeping on the floor of my office on a stretcher mattress, praying that we didn’t lose power. Now, I get to sit here and hope that my office gets closed on Tuesday…very different. So, here’s a brew that my parents brought me back from Massachusetts that I was crazy excited to try.

ABV: 10%

Style: Belgian IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Hoppy Belgian-Style Tripel – ABV 10% Muffin Top combines the attributes of a Belgian Tripel with a huge burst of American hops. Intense flavors from the Belgian yeast, reminiscent of candied fruits, mix with the hop bitterness and sweet orange peel to create a unique take on a Belgian-Style ale.”

Random: Why does News 12 keep repeating the same feed? I’ll take annoying for $1000, Alex.

This one poured with a thick, three finger, pure white head that dissipated slowly and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, light orange color with light to moderate carbonation visible throughout. The nose was more Belgian than IPA. I got orange and clove with some yeast and not much bitterness. The more I sniff, the more I could infer a hint of bitterness to it. The taste was the exact opposite of the nose. It started with a lot of bitter grapefruit and hops. It ended with Belgian yeast and clove. I really liked this one. The booze was really hidden as well. The body was thinner than I was used to for the style, but it worked, especially given that the carbonation was less than expected. The finish was long and hoppy and sticky with some booze warming as well. This wasn’t as amazing as I expected, but it was a solid beer that is worth a try.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0