21st Amendment He Said (Tripel)

While attempting to review this beer last night, the other half and I were watching tv. She was lounging on me and didn’t really want to move, so I had to type my notes with one finger into my iPhone. It definitely took a bit longer than normal to write down my thoughts on this one. Let’s see how this beer went.

IMG_2145

ABV: 8.2%

Style: Tripel

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The story starts in 2010 when Dick Cantwell walked into our San Francisco pub. We’d heard about his little pumpkin fest and wanted to get together to brew a pumpkin beer like no other: a Belgianstyle Tripel brewed with pumpkin, galangal and terragon. In a dark colored can.”

Random: It is definitely a good day when Spring Training baseball starts, even if the Phillies had to end their game early due to weather and lost. It means that baseball is back!

This brew poured with a finger of white head that dissipated quicker than expected. It didn’t leave any lacing on the glass, but had a quarter of an inch crown that hung around for a bit. It had medium carbonation visible. Since I couldn’t really move all that much, as I was playing the role of personal couch, I asked the other half what color the brew was. She said that it was a cloudy honey color, then changed her mind and said that it was a dark orange-y color. She is so helpful. Anyways, the nose had an assertive pumpkin presence with nutmeg, pear and Belgian yeast. The first sip hit you in the mouth with bubble gum and banana flavor, without much pumpkin. There was some cinnamon as it opened, but it was definitely a yeast dominant brew. The body was thin for the style with relatively low carbonation. The finish was long and spicy with a touch of booze. This beer was okay, but was trying to do too many things and didn’t accomplish them well. It needed more balance and more fluidity with all of the flavors. I wouldn’t rush back to have.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

21st Amendment He Said (Baltic Porter)

If it’s not apparent on the blog, I’m a pretty big dork. Last night, while making dinner, I was dancing and singing in the kitchen to Fleetwood Mac, thinking the other half was not in the next room hearing me make a fool of myself. I was embarrassed for all of thirty seconds, but I definitely turned red. Sometimes I wonder how she puts up with me. Anyways, we picked up this beer last time we were in Brooklyn meeting up with my cousin at Bierkraft. Let’s see how I liked it.

IMG_2142

ABV: 8.2%

Style: Fruit/Vegetable Beer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The story starts in 1999 when Shaun O’Sullivan walked into my Seattle pub. He’d heard about my massive pumpkin fest and wanted to get together and brew a pumpkin beer like no other: a Baltic style Porter brewed with pumpkin, caraway and cinnamon. In a light colored can.”

Random: I’m still wearing my snow boots to work because they make me two inches taller.

This brew poured with a two finger, thick, light brown head that dissipated slowly and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown color with no carbonation visible due to the color. The nose was more on the side of porter with dark chocolate roasted malt first. Then, I got some pumpkin puree and spice and a touch of espresso. The taste was very similar. I got some smoke and dark chocolate notes. Some cinnamon and nutmeg came through at the end of the sip with burnt espresso. There was a touch of booze, but nothing all that abrasive. The body was thick and had moderate carbonation. It could have used a little bit more carbonation. The finish was long with burnt espresso. I enjoyed the beer despite the smoky characteristics. I still don’t quite understand why it’s considered a fruit beer, though.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

St-Ambroise Citrouille (The Great Pumpkin Ale)

Since I haven’t been reviewing beers as regularly as I would like, I’ve had this beer for awhile. I don’t even remember when I picked it up, but I’m assuming that I picked it up at the end of the fall season at Cranbury Buy-Rite in a mixed six-pack and it has been sitting in the back of the fridge for awhile. Let’s see if this one held up.

IMG_2141

ABV: 5%

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Each year as the leaves fall and the north wind blows, St-Ambroise Pumpkin Ale make its return – a magical potion that casts a potent spell with its well-crafted blend of blond and caramelized malts, gentle hop, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and pumpkin. Its delicate malty character and hint of sweetness will quench any creature looking for easy-drinking refreshment.”

Random: This cold is beyond ridic at this point.

This beer poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a brilliant copper color that was clear with plenty of carbonation present. The nose was really pleasant on this beer. I got notes of cinnamon, pumpkin, nutmeg and ginger snap. Each note was present and none overpowered the other. The nose was where the good aspects of the brew ended. The sip started with pumpkin flavors and nutmeg and cinnamon, but then quickly went into a bitter hop notes that were a bit medicinal. A touch of a sour, fruity note at the end with some pie crust. What made the latter part of the sip worse is how thin the body was. The only thing that saves that aspect of the beer is that it was generously carbonated. The finish was thankfully short with some spices. This was not a pumpkin beer to write home about. I would give it another shot only for the fact that I had this one so far out of season.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

21st Amendment Lower De Boom Barleywine

Another start to a long work week. Nothing all the crazy happened today, but I’m sufficiently tired. I’ve been working an average of 70-80 hours a week, so I feel like I’m constantly tired and in desperate need of sleep. Anyways, the other half picked this one up for me awhile ago. I wanted to try it when it first came out, but never got around to it. Let’s see how this one went.

IMG_2140

ABV: 11.5%

Style: American Barleywine

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “In 1859, Shaun and Nico arrive in San Francisco for the gold rush. Ten years late. That was Shaun’s fault. They stop in Cornelius De Boom’s supply store. Cornelius pegs our boys as suckers and sells them a forged ‘treasure map.’ Shaun and Nico find themselves in a dinghy in the middle of the Bay. ‘Curse you Cornelius!’ Jumping in anyway, Shaun finds two boxes of riches: In one, gold ingots; in the other, a rare and perfectly preserved beer. Suddenly, the dinghy springs a leak! They leave the gold and grab the beer. With this ‘liquid gold,’ they become beer barons. They acquire De Boom Supply and throw Cornelius out the back door. Today whenever anyone gives them trouble, they exchange a look across the pub and say, ‘Lower De Boom.’ Lower De Boom is a powerfully balanced American-Style barleywine packed with citrusy Pacific Northwest hops. Chestnut brown in the glass with notes of toffee malt, fruitcake, toast, piney hops and more than a hint of alcohol. Our liquid gold is the first American craft beer in a can offered in the traditional barleywine ‘nip’ size. Perfect to enjoy sipped at the end of a long day. More than that and you might feel like the boom has been lowered on you.”

Random: I’ve only had 2 cups of coffee so far today. I definitely need another one.

This brew poured with a half a finger of pure white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass, but did leave a slight crown on top of the body. The body was a very cloudy mahogany color with very little carbonation visible. The nose had a lot going on. I got some bready and biscuity malt, coupled with vanilla and oak and then some citrusy fruit with a touch of pear. There was a definite booze presence as well. The taste was a bit different. I got vanilla and wood, then serious hop presence that was really bitter and did not mesh all that well with the malt and toffee characteristic that came right afterwards. The booze was overly present as well and made this brew even more disjointed. After a few sips, some burnt sugar came through as well. The body was medium thickness with low carbonation and could have used a little bit more. The booze lasted until the finish, which was also very long with lots of malt. I really wanted to love this beer, but there was something missing for me. I wouldn’t rush back to have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Twisted Pine Billy’s Chillies Beer (Timberline Series)

It is still pretty cold out. If not for the wind, it wouldn’t be so bad. It figures that on my day off that I really don’t have to do anything work related, it’s not conducive to doing much. Despite that, I’ve been relatively productive. Anyways, here’s a review of another brew I picked up on vacation.

IMG_2139

ABV: 5%

Style: Chile Beer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Serrano, Habanero, Jalapeno, Anaheim, and Fresno chili peppers are the stars of this unfiltered wheat beer, providing wonderfully fresh, spicy aroma and a complex chili pepper taste. The chili flavor is mild, not dominant, thus making for an incredibly drinkable beer that pairs great with food and will leave you thirsty for more.”

Random: I’m still watching reruns of “Criminal Minds.” I’m probably going to have nightmares tonight.

This brew poured with a finger of pure white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a very cloudy yellow-orange color with heavy carbonation. I think I’m going to appreciate the carbonation when I get to sipping this one. The nose starts with bell peppers and then goes right into spicy chili scents, which is to be expected. The taste started with green bell peppers and then quickly goes into serious chili pepper heat. It then goes into serrano, jalapeno and then habanero that kicks you in the back of the throat. The heat is intense, but not as overpowering as Ghost Face Killa, which for me wasn’t even drinkable. There may have been some subtle malt to it, but as to be expected, the chilis are what take center stage. After a few sips, it’s hard to pick out anything besides chili peppers and heat. The body was on the light side with heavy carbonation. The finish is long with heat that lingers at the back of the throat. I like hot peppers, so I did enjoy this beer, but if you don’t have a high tolerance for spice, I doubt you’d enjoy this one. But, I liked it and would have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Boulevard Brewing Company Double-Wide I.P.A.

So, after a few months of being backlogged, this is the last post that was out of date that I needed to post. You know what that means? I can start reviewing again real-time, which makes me quite excited. Anyways, here’s how this one went.

IMG_2138

ABV: 8.5%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The classic India Pale Ale is a traveler’s beer, aggressively hopped to withstand the long, hot ocean voyage to the British East Indies. Our Double-Wide I.P.A. also travels well, and is right at home in the most exotic ports of call of the Midwest. While this modern-day prairie schooner may not resemble a graceful sailing sloop, our liberal hopping regimen does make her virtually ‘twister-proof,’ with toffee and caramel notes balancing out the lingering bitterness. Enjoy this beer fresh to best appreciate the complex blending of hop aromas, ranging from minty to citrusy, with subtle hints of pine.”

Random: I’ve been picking up a bunch of Boulevard brews on vacation. I wonder since they’ve been bought out if they’ll be distributed up here.

This brew poured with a two and half finger high cream-colored head that dissipated very slowly. It left some lacing on my Flying Dog glass. The body was a very cloudy almost chestnut color with high carbonation visible throughout. It also had a large amount of detritus visible in the bottom of the glass. The nose had the usual grapefruit hop kick to it, but also had some noticeable tropical fruit notes as well. It also had this minty/medicinal tinge at the end. The taste was very similar to the nose. I got some grapefruit up front, then subtle tropical fruit notes with a bit of malt. At the end of the sip, the medicinal/mint quality came up that lasted well through the finish. After a few sips, I got some apricot as well. The body was on the thick side of the style and was decently carbonated. The finish was really, really long with mint. The booze was noticeable on the end, but generally well hidden. The brew was good, but nothing outstanding, although I’m glad I got to try it since it’s not distributed in New Jersey.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Stone Matt’s Burning Rosids

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. One of the things that I love about beer is the fact that they do things like this. They take a beer and send the proceeds to something that was important to their friend who passed. It’s definitely one thing that you don’t see wine do. I’m definitely happy that I got to try this one.

IMG_2134

ABV: 10.5%

Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Rather than regarding Burning Rosids as a somber memento, please think of it as a celebration of Matt, just as we do. When you drink this very special beer, please join us in raising your glass, both in Matt’s memory and in tribute to everything he so passionately stood for: caring for others, passion and skill for his art, and laughter… lots of laughter. Among the long list of things he held dear were GoDesignInc.org, a charity committed to fulfilling the architectural needs of developing communities around the world; and TKF, a nonprofit working to stop youth violence by educating, mentoring and making positive impacts on high-risk communities. We are proudly contributing funds earned through the sale of this beer to these worthy organizations in Matt’s honor. Enjoy, and please remember that life and those we hold dear are precious gifts to be cherished every day. Consider sharing this beer, conversation on life’s passions and, again, lots of laughter, with good friends as we remember ours.”

Random: I’m already sick of watching what’s on television. Again, definitely could not stay at home for long amounts of time.

This brew poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated quickly and left some lacing on the pint glass. Before we go further, again, why do bars insist on serving beers with this high of ABV in a pint glass? /rant over. The body was a slightly cloudy orange color with a nose filled with wheat with lemon peel and Belgian spice. The taste was completely different. I got lots of smoke up front and then an interesting floral characteristic right after. Then, a touch of peat too. At the end, there was also some clove. The body was thick with high carbonation. It had a long, smoky finish. The booze was really well hidden. I really enjoyed this beer and would definitely have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Bell’s Hopslam Ale

This beer is one that I have attempted to try since I’ve started the blog. This beer is always listed as one of the best DIPAs in production and is (of course), not distributed to New Jersey. While we were in Philly, I found a bar that was tapping a keg of this and we went so that I could try a glass. Sorry for the crappy picture in advance, the bar was insanely dark.

IMG_2133

ABV: 10%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, Bell’s Hopslam Ale possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell’s repertoire. Selected specifically because of their aromatic qualities, these Pacific Northwest varieties contribute a pungent blend of grapefruit, stone fruit, and floral notes. A generous malt bill and a solid dollop of honey provide just enough body to keep the balance in check, resulting in a remarkably drinkable rendition of the Double India Pale Ale style.”

Random: I am so sick of seeing dirty snow. Can it please be spring already?

This brew poured with a finger of white head, it dissipated slowly with lots of lacing left on the glass. The body was a clear mahogany color with mild carbonation visible. The nose was amazing with lots of pine and a touch of malt but some pungent grapefruit too. Taste is amazing with lots of fresh grapefruit with fresh pine. There was not a huge amount of malt, but enough to balance out the hops. The booze was really balanced as well. The body was thick with moderate carbonation. It had a long finish with pine and grapefruit. I absolutely loved this beer and would have it again in a second. If you see it and love hops, order this one immediately.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Brooklyn Fire & Ice

This was the second beer that I had at The Corner Foodery. I try to have their tap offerings since they get such interesting ones, and I was definitely excited to try this one.

IMG_2132

ABV: 7.2%

Style: American Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “What separates us humans from the other animals? Some people say that it’s music, or language, or the use of tools. But birds can sing beautifully, dolphins can practically write novels and chimps fashion hammers. So perhaps…it’s fire? The smell of wood smoke scares every other animal on earth, but we humans love it. And as the weather grows colder and the days shorter here in Brooklyn, we smile as we start to catch that familiar whiff of a neighbor sparking up a fireplace. That aroma transports us to good places – barbecues, sitting around campfires, lounging with the family at the holidays. Most beer was once smoky and we think smoke is still delicious. Brooklyn Fire & Ice is a robust porter that wraps beechwood smoke around a silky core of oatmeal and roasted malts. Wood is cut in the beechwood forests surrounding Bamberg, Germany, and our maltsters use it to dry their smoked malts, which form the basis of this beer. Together with a blend of roasted malts, it creates a beer that is gently smoky and beguilingly chocolaty, with notes of coffee and caramel. Fire & Ice is delicious by itself, but it’s a rock star at the dinner table. Those roasty-smoky notes are great with steaks, chops, chicken, stews, chili, lamb, and even chocolate desserts and ice cream. Why do we call the beer ‘Fire & Ice?’ Because…when the world gives you darkness and ice, we put a fire into your glass and give you warmth and light. Why yes, actually we are poets…”

Random: I think I need to buy a new pair of sneakers.

This brew poured with a half a finger of tan head that dissipated slowly and some lacing left on the glass. The body was a dark brown, almost black color with no visible carbonation due to color. The nose was very smoky with lots of roasty malts. The taste was very smoke dominant with coffee and roasted malts present. So far, it was really nice. After a few sips, I got some dark chocolate with a touch of peat. The body was thick with moderate carbonation. It had a long smoky finish. My biggest problem with beers like this is that the smoke can just completely overwhelm the beer so you don’t taste anything else. This beer wasn’t like that and was really enjoyable. I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Allagash Interlude

Last weekend, the other half and I headed out to Philly to hang out and walk around. The weather wasn’t nearly as nice as it was yesterday, but it was nice to get out of the house and walk around. We ended up at The Corner Foodery in Philly to grab a snack and warm up. I’ve become a real fan of the place, especially because they tend to have really good beers. I wish they had something like that around here. My first selection was this gem from Allagash…

IMG_2131

ABV: 9.5%

Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Two yeast strains were used to create this unique 9.5% ABV Belgian style ale. The first, a Belgian farmhouse yeast, establishes the flavor foundations of a classic Belgian-style ale. The second, a house strain of Brettanomyces yeast, brings it to the next level contributing an intriguing myriad of flavors including pear, apricot, graham cracker, and bread crust. Finally, a portion of the Interlude is aged in red wine barrels, which impart a distinctive vinous plum character and a drying, almost tannic finish.”

Random: I am watching one of the most awful commercials I’ve ever seen about paying someone to keep my “aging loved one” company in their later years. This is why I cannot stay at home for long periods of time.

This brew poured with a half a finger of slightly off white head that dissipated slowly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy orange color with mild carbonation visible. The nose was strong. The first notes I got were really tart with lots of cherries and some Brett dominating. The taste was a bit more complex. First of all, it was a total tart bomb with Brett, sour apple, pear juice and cherry with some biscuit that I assume was imparted from the yeast. The booze was really hidden. It had a really light body with heavy carbonation. It had a long, tart finish with pear and apricots. The beer was flat out amazing, exactly what I’ve come to accept from Allagash.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0