Boatswain H.L.V. Ale (Heavy Lift Vessel)

So, we picked up a few more beers from Trader Joe’s. As I’ve mentioned before, we pretty much only go to TJ’s and order from Fresh Direct for groceries. Having Fresh Direct is possibly the most convenient thing ever. The other half and I work insanely long hours, so having groceries delivered is pretty much amazing. On the rare occasion that we need something and can’t order in time, TJ’s is our go to. So, last time the other half was there, she picked this one up for me. Let’s see how I liked it.

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ABV: 7%

Style: American Strong Ale

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “A heavy lift ship is a vessel designed to move very large loads that cannot be handled by normally equipped ships. They are of two types: semi-submerging vessels capable of lifting another ship out of the water and transporting it; and vessels that augment unloading facilities at inadequately equipped ports.”

Random: I hate the fact that the Phils game is blacked out on MLB.tv despite the fact that we don’t get it on FIOS. I see a switch to Comcast in the very near future.

This brew poured with a two finger head that was tan in color. It dissipated very slowly and left lots of lacing on the glass. There was no carbonation visible due to the color of the beer. The body was a very dark mahogany color. On the nose, I got all malt and some booze. There was also a touch of nuttiness without much else. The taste was only alright. I got some booze and cloying caramel malt with significant nuttiness, specifically hazelnuts. The body was thick with high carbonation. It had a long finish with booze and caramel. I could see where this beer was really trying to succeed, but it was only alright. I wouldn’t have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0

Flying Dog Belgian Devil (Brewhouse Rarities)

I picked this bottle up when the lawyer and I toured the brewery in the middle of an impeding snow storm. They didn’t have this one on tap, so I was really excited to pop this one open. I’ve always been a huge fan of Belgians, so I was curious to see Flying Dog’s take on the style.

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ABV: 8.5%

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Trivia: According to beerpulse.com, “An homage to the devilish Belgian Golden Ales that continue to inspire our brewers, this Belgian Devil has aromas of peach, pear, and apple along with slight hints of banana and spice from the Belgian yeast strain. Those aromas carry through in flavor, with pear, apple, and yeast phenols dominating. It has a light, subtly sweet malt backbone and subtle bitterness for balance.”

Random: I still don’t know how I feel about the Eagles releasing DeSean Jackson.

This beer poured with a two finger, white head that was quite thick. It dissipated quickly, yet left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a slightly hazy light orange color with high carbonation. The nose was really boozy nose with golden fruit, especially prevalent were apricots and golden raisins. The taste was much better. The booze was more balanced out. It was very fruity with apricot and honey sweetness and lots of golden raisins. There was a slight amount of Belgian yeast present, but I expected more. The body was medium thickness with lots of carbonation prickling the tongue. The finish was long and fruity. This was a solid beer that could definitely creep up on you given the ABV. I wish Flying Dog would make this one a regular. I would definitely have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Trader Jose Light Lager

Sometimes I pick up beers to review to see how bad they really are. I haven’t had a beer of this style in well over a year, so I was curious to see how this economical beer from Trader Joe’s was.

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ABV: 4%

Style: Light Lager

Trivia: According to traderjoes.com, “Here’s our story. For years, we searched for an independent brewery in Mexico with whom we could create a beer-crafting partnership. Problem is, a couple of big Mexican breweries have a virtual monopoly on the market, so there didn’t seem to be a way in. We kept searching, though, until we finally found a small, independent brewer eager to create high quality Mexican beer, without being part of that monopoly. Lucky for all involved, this brewer was also eager to partner with an American retailer interested in high quality Mexican beer at a tremendous value. Such serendipia! Trader José’s Light Premium Lager is a golden-hued, all malt, handcrafted brew. It’s smooth and slightly bitter, with only 3.8% alcohol and a mere 120 calories in every bottle.”

Random: The meow has made himself very comfortable on the ottoman while watching “True Blood.” He seems less than excited for baseball.

This brew comes in a clear glass bottle, which is not a great sign. I could smell the skunk as soon as I opened the bottle. I have a feeling that this beer would have been better enjoyed out of the bottle, but for review purposes, I poured into a glass. It poured with a finger of very light, white head that was shockingly slow to dissipate with some lacing left on the glass. The body was a light clear yellow with very low carbonation. The nose was nothing short of awful. I got straight out skunk and corn, which was really strong. The taste was even worse. It was really skunky with some corn and a touch of artificial lime added as well. The body was very thin with carbonation that was way too low for the style. It had a thankfully short finish with corn. This beer was just awful. I wouldn’t have this one again, even if you handed it to me.

Untappd Rating: 1.5/5.0

Kennebunkport Blueberry Wheat Ale

The other half picked this beer up for me to sample awhile ago at Trader Joe’s. I had never seen it on the shelves before, nor did I know that they had a relationship with Shipyard. Anyways, let’s see how this one goes…

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ABV: 4.6%

Style: Fruit/Vegetable Beer

Trivia: According to greatbrewers.com, “Jack’s, as it’s known by the locals, offers a brew with a view overlooking the Kennebunk River. This award-winning restaurant and brewery was built on the site where, in their heyday, Kennebunk’s historic 19th century shipyards built schooners known throughout the world for their grace and speed. Federal Jack’s was named for one of the most famous ships built on this site in 1908 – the Federal Jack. One of Maine’s first brew pubs, this popular restaurant is the birthplace of Shipyard Brewing Company’s award winning-line of handcrafted ales. In y 1992, entrepreneur Fred Forsley and master brewer Alan Pugsley established the Kennebunkport Brewing Company (KBC) and Federal Jack’s. Word of our fine ales spread quickly throughout Maine. Demand quickly outpaced our size, and, in 1994, Shipyard Brewing Company Shipyard Brewing Company was built Portland, Maine.”

Random: I’m now onto season 2 of “True Blood.” It’s pretty good so far.

This brew poured with a one and half finger white head that dissipated almost instantly and left no lacing left on the glass. The body was a remarkable clear light orange color with moderate carbonation. The nose was pretty strong with some blueberry extract and not much else. There wasn’t any wheat to speak of. The taste was filled with blueberry extract. It definitely does not taste authentic. There is a hint of metallic taste at the end, which would be more strong if not hidden by the blueberry flavor. There wasn’t any real wheat to speak of in the taste either. The body was overly thin with moderate carbonation. The finish was quick with fruit. This beer was lacking some true blueberry flavor and needed a bit more carbonation. I wouldn’t have this one again, unless it was free.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Columbus Winter Warmer

My home office is located in Ohio. I’ve been lucky enough to make some great friends with people who work there. One of them sent me and the lawyer a care package for Christmas that included a six-pack of this beer, which is local to them and honestly, I’ve never heard of. I was excited to give this one a try.

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ABV: 7.5%

Style: Winter Warmer

Trivia: According to the brewery, “England’s soggy, gray winters inspired brewers to make ales known as winter warmers. Ours is a blend of English Maris Otter malts, special caramel malts accented with hints of ginger and cinnamon. Best enjoyed in the company of family and friends.”

Random: The brewery only offers two-year round offerings, an IPA and a pale ale.

This brew poured with a one finger white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a very cloudy amber color with lots of visible floaties in it. There was light carbonation visible as well. The nose was mild with some caramel notes and winter spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. The taste had a more marked spice presence. Lots of cinnamon was present with nutmeg and clove. There was also a bit of malt with some peppercorn as well. There wasn’t any booze warming. The body was on the thick side with heavy carbonation. The finish was long and spicy. Although this brew didn’t pull any punches, it was a solid holiday offering that I would definitely have again. If you’re in Ohio around the holidays, give this one a shot.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Jester King Le Petit Prince Farmhouse Table Beer

I’ve had this beer for a little bit. As you probably know if you’re a Jersey resident, Jester King isn’t distributed here, so I picked it up in my travels to the city. When I decided to open this beer, I was excited about pairing it with some sushi. I’m not usually one to pair beer with things (despite the fact that I should be doing this more), but the thought of a citrusy saison paired with sushi sounded amazing.

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ABV: 2.9%

Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We’re pleased to announce the release of our latest beer – Le Petit Prince Farmhouse Table Beer. Le Petit Prince is a 2.8% ABV farmhouse table beer brewed with pilsner malt, wheat, a touch of Caramunich and acidulated malt, lots of Czech Saaz hops and farmhouse yeast. This is a beer we’ve been excited about for quite some time now, as we believe that it’s a clear, simple expression of the delicate, delightful interplay between noble hops and farmhouse yeast.”

Random: The guy on the label looks a little like a creepy alien.

This brew poured with a finger of white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy light yellow color with remarkably low carbonation. The nose had a lot of yeast and lemon zest with clove and some coriander as well. The taste was a bit watery with lemon and some yeast. There was a lot of spice with clove and coriander as well. There wasn’t as much flavor as I expected. The body was on the thin side  with light carbonation, especially for the style. It had a long, spicy finish with clove. I really wanted to love this beer, but it was only alright. Given how expensive it was, I wouldn’t rush back to have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Triumph Oatmeal Stout

This week was an insane work week. A bunch of my staff got the flu, which in turn means that for the past two days, I have come down with the flu. I had so many people out yesterday that I still had to go in despite having a fever, body aches, etc. Today, I woke up without a voice and my throat was killing me. I’m already on my second cup of tea of the morning, so why not update the blog?

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ABV: 4.5%

Style: Oatmeal Stout

Trivia: Triumph now offers a beer and cheese pairing with four of their beers and four local cheeses.

Random: I’m almost done with the first season of “The Real L Word.” I can say as of now, it’s absolutely awful, but in a really entertaining way.

This brew poured with a thick, half finger tan head that was slow to dissipate. It left a lot of lacing on the pint glass. The body was a dark brown color that was almost black with occasionally visible carbonation. The nose was dark chocolate and slightly bitter with a touch of cream as well. The taste was shockingly good (especially for Triumph). It had dark chocolate and cream with a touch of oatmeal at the end of the sip. There wasn’t a great deal of bitterness to it because the creamy characteristic really balanced it out. It had high carbonation and a light body for the style. The finish was quick with some dark chocolate and oatmeal. I let the lawyer try it and even she liked it. This was probably the best beer that I’ve ever had a Triumph and was a great example of an oatmeal stout. If you find yourself at Triumph and this is on tap, it is definitely worth a try.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

DC Brau El Hefe Speaks

We’ve now moved on in my Netflix watching to “The Real L Word.” I never watched the show when it was on, but read some of the recaps, so I’m figuring that it should be interesting. I had this beer earlier in the week, so let’s see how I liked it.

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ABV: 5.3%

Style: Hefeweizen

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We crafted EL HEFE SPEAKS!, our fond farewell to summer, as a collaboration with John Solomon and Chris Frashier. The pair are well known for their fine (and tasty!) work at Old Dominion in Ashburn, VA, during the mid 90’s. EL HEFE SPEAKS! is a traditionally brewed German-style Hefe. It is fermented around 65°F and hopped with German Tettnang hops. 11 IBUs and 5.3% ABV make this one extremely drinkable. If you think it speaks to you as well, definitely try a glass… because it will be gone before you can say ‘sweater weather.’ ‘We’re tremendously excited to bring this specialty brew to the District,’ said DC Brau Co-Founder and CEO, Brandon Skall, ‘Working with other local brewers on this project has made presenting the final product even better.’ The beer was brewed at DC Brau in early August. ‘El Hefe Speaks’ uses the Weihenstephaner yeast strain, a classic, popular German wheat beer strain used worldwide.”

Random: Next week baseball starts. Despite the fact that I think my team will be awful, I’m seriously looking forward to it.

This beer poured with a two-finger white head that was pretty thin and dissipated quickly. It left no lacing on the glass at all, although there was a slight crown left on top of the body. The body itself was a hazy golden-yellow color with high carbonation. It had a light nose with some lemon zest and wheat to. The taste was really lemony with some tartness to it and a wheat presence as well. After a few sips, I got some spice to it as well, maybe clove? Although it was bursting with flavors, it was relatively light and nice. It would make a great summer beer. The body was light without being thin with high carbonation. It had a long tart finish with lemon zest. This beer was awesome. I look forward to having it again in the summer!

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Mission St. Anniversary Ale 2014

I’m onto another documentary on my day off. This one is about the Amityville Horror. I have to be honest in that I know relatively little about this case, but this show is definitely interesting and a little bit creepy. I don’t think I could ever live in a so-called “haunted” house. Anyways, let’s see how it went.

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ABV: 8.5%

Style: American Strong Ale

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “Mission Street is a north-south arterial thoroughfare in San Francisco, California that runs from the city’s southern border to its northeast waterfront. The street and the Mission District through which it runs were named for the Spanish Mission Dolores, several blocks away from the modern route. Only the southern half is historically part of El Camino Real, which connected the missions. At 7.2 mi (11.6 km), it is the city’s longest, and one of its oldest streets.”

Random: The meow is knocked out on a side table. He seriously has the life.

The brew poured with a huge, tan head that was three fingers high. It dissipated slowly and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a dark, clear sienna color with medium carbonation. The nose was nutty, which was to be expected, given it was billed on the label as an “imperial brown ale” but has a heavy medicinal note that I couldn’t place. It almost struck me as minty. Anyways, the taste was much better. It was nutty and rich and really warm with lots of hazelnuts and some nutty malt as well. There was also a touch of roasted, light coffee. The booze was definitely apparent and provided a lot of warming at the end. The body was medium thickness with lower than expected carbonation. I wish it had a bit more. It had a long, nutty finish with booze. This wasn’t a bad beer, but wasn’t exceptional. Give it a try if you like brown ales.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Weyerbacher Tango

It’s one of my last Mondays off before End of Quarter starts. I am definitely not looking forward to that at all. So far, I’ve mounted a knife rack today, done a bunch of laundry and taken some of the garbage out. All in a days work for me. Anyways, the lawyer picked this one up for me a few weeks back. Let’s see how it went.

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ABV: 10.6%

Style: Belgian Dark Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Tango is a big, bold, Belgian-style dark ale brewed with 1,200 pounds of cherries! Tango pours a beautiful ruby color with a nice fluffy head offering a very complex aroma of cherries and other dark fruits. The strong 750ml glass bottle finished with a cork and cage allows the very robust bottle-conditioning responsible for Tango’s effervescence. Dark fruit flavors join the cherries to match up with the strong malt bill with the Belgian yeast adding its 2 cents along the way. Tango weighs in at 10.6% ABV and was brewed using a base of Pilsener Malt with Honey Malt, Special B, Aromatic Malt and a touch of Chocolate Malt. Apollo hops balance all that sweetness to 35 IBU. Tango is available throughout our distribution area for a limited time only!”

Random: I’ve finished season 4 of Dexter and it was really, really good.

This brew poured with a barely there white head that dissipated instantly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a deep mahogany color that was slightly cloudy with moderate carbonation visible. The nose was really sweet with lots of cherries and some plum notes. Figs were also there with a touch of wood and some booze. The taste was even better than the nose. I got lots of cherries with prunes and candi sugar. Molasses and peppercorns came through as the brew warmed. The beer was on the thicker side with low carbonation. The finish was long with lots of sweetness from the cherries and some residual candi sugar. This was probably one of the best Weyerbacher beers that I’ve had. It was a great sipper with lots of depth to it. I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0