Archive for July, 2014

The other half was out at Trivia Night tonight, so I spent the night watching my Netflix, which tonight happened to be the live on Broadway taping of “Rent.” I assumed that it would be the original cast and I was definitely wrong. It wasn’t awful, but there were definitely parts that were not great. Especially the parts that featured “Mimi.” Anyways, this was the brew that I had last night. It’s another beer from Stillwater and I really have been enjoying brews from them, so let’s see how their Belgian dark ale is.

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ABV: 5%

Style: Belgian Dark Ale

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “Thunder is the sound caused by lightning. Depending on the distance and nature of the lightning, thunder can range from a sharp, loud crack to a long, low rumble (brontide).”

Random: I still know almost every word to every song in “Rent.”

This brew poured with a two finger, light brown colored head that was very slowly to dissipate, but left no lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown color with no carbonation visible due to the color. The nose was relatively fragrant with roasted malts and light chocolate with white pepper. The taste had a bit more depth with light cocoa powder, malted milk, white pepper and bready yeast at the end. There was a hint of bitterness at the end from grassy hops, but nothing intense. The body was smooth, but on the thinner side with moderate carbonation. The finish was quick with some bitterness and bread. This beer was pretty good, although a little too light for my taste.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

I found another Cascade beer during our last beer haul from Westchester. Let’s see how it went, especially given that it’s always written up in beer books.

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ABV: 7.2%

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Tart, barrel-aged beers are the emerging beer style and Cascade Brewing is a pioneer of the NW style sour beer movement. We are, by nature, the definition of artisanal brewing: we’re not bound by stylistic guidelines, just our own imagination and the ingredients we can access. Our brewery currently houses more than 750 French oak, Kentucky Bourbon and Northwest wine barrels filled with wheats, blonds, quads, reds, browns and porters that are aged and blended into magical elixirs. These beers have aggressive tart notes that are balanced by residual sugars, fruits, spices and the oak we use. We serve them all up for you at the Cascade Brewery Barrel House – or House of Sour – which features more than 18 rotating taps, with a predominantly sour lineup at any given time. We also offer a number of bottled products, all available at the source and some available online. We are proud to have recently received a rare score of 100 on Beer Advocate, a world-class rating.”

Random: I really love Cascade brews. I can’t believe I keep finding them wherever I go and couldn’t find them for years.

This brew poured with a one finger white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. There was a slight, off white crown left on top of the body. The body was a dark reddish-brown that was cloudy with a lot of carbonation present. The nose had lots of tart cherries, vinegar and toasted oak. The taste was intensely tart with lots of vinegar and cherries. There wasn’t as much as oak and I was hoping for, but the taste was still really nice. The body was on the thick side of the style with lots of carbonation. It had a long finish with tart cherries. I really enjoyed this one. I would definitely have it again, although the price point is a bit high.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

This was the beer that I ordered the other half while at Blind Tiger Ale House. They didn’t have much that was in her wheelhouse, so although we have a bottle of this chilling at home, I ordered it anyway so we could see how it was on draft and if there were any major differences between bottle and draft.

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ABV: 5%

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A wheat ale fermented with real red and black raspberries and accented with fresh lemongrass. It has a stunning red color and mouth-watering berry aroma. Fruity and refreshingly dry.”

Random: I really dig fruit beers in the summer, especially if they’re done well.

This brew poured with two finger, white head that was pretty fluffy. It was slow to dissipate and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a beautiful, bright red color with light carbonation from what I could see. The nose was reminiscent of berry preserves, teeming with raspberry and blueberry. At this point, I was really excited. The taste was a big letdown. There was very little flavor generally with a touch of tart raspberry and not much else. I was hoping to get lemongrass too, but I couldn’t pick up any. The body was too thin and majorly under carbonated. It had a quick finish with raspberry jam. I wanted to like this beer, but there wasn’t anything to like. It was a bland fruit beer that should have been bursting with flavor. I wouldn’t have this one again, sadly.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

So, after dinner, I was still hungry. Since we were in the Village, we headed to Blind Tiger Ale House, hopefully to get a quick bite. It was insanely hot in the place and packed, so I didn’t get anything to eat. But, they had a Ninkasi brew on tap, which I’ve never had since they’re not distributed to Jersey or Philly. Let’s see how this one went.

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ABV: 6.7%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Total Domination IPA has a citrusy, floral hop aroma, and big hop flavor balanced with a richness imparted by Carahell and Munich malts. This beer is a big flavorful Northwest IPA that maintains its drinkability, and as such, has garnered great admiration from the novice craft drinker and the seasoned hop-head alike.”

Random: The meow is awfully snuggly tonight.

This beer poured with a one finger, white head that dissipated slowly and left lots of lacing on the pint glass. The body was a slightly cloudy, hazy yellow color (at least from what I could see in the very dark bar). The nose was filled with dank, piney hops. There was some citrus too. So far, so good. The taste was light, and pretty balanced between light caramel malt and citrus hopes with some pine. There was some grapefruit pith as well. It had a medium thick body with very high carbonation. It had a long finish with pine and grapefruit. For my first Ninkasi brew, I really liked this one. I would definitely have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

The other half and I headed to Manhattan and had to kill more time before dinner. We tried walking around the Village, but it was ridiculously hot. We stopped at a small bar that was mildly air-conditioned, and this was their featured bottle on sale. Let’s see how it was.

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ABV: 5%

Style: German Pilsener

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Mermaids, those mysterious aquatic lovelies, have popped up all over the world in legend since 1000 BC. No scientific evidence has ever surfaced to support their existence, but we’re not ones to argue with folklore. Mermaid Pilsner® is a light-bodied, crisp-drinking, nicely hopped lager. A heavy-handed addition of rye malt adds a mild spiciness, which is balanced by a light, fruity, floral hop aroma.”

Random: I really liked the label art on this bottle. It’s retro without being overdone.

This brew poured with a thin, pure white head that dissipated slowly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, straw yellow color with light carbonation. The nose was pretty light, which was not unexpected for the style. There was some malt that was a bit sweet, but not much else. I was hoping to get some rye on the nose, but I definitely didn’t. The taste was a bit bigger with the first flavor present being spicy rye. Then, some bready malt and at the end of the sip, a little grassy hoppiness. The body was light with moderate to heavy carbonation. It had a long spicy finish from the rye. Even though I’m normally not a huge fan of the style, I really liked this one and definitely would have this one again. If you see it, the beer is definitely worth a shot.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

This was the brew that I had at Whole Foods. I’ve never had anything from this brewery, so I was really excited to try this one. Let’s see how it was.

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ABV: 5%

Style: Gose

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Action/Adventure is our lichtenhainer, a near extinct German-style smoked sour ale. As intimidating as that may sound, this wheaty, hazy-golden beer is actually a quenching, lightly tart summertime treat with a bit of smoke in the background — Grimm’s idea of a lawnmower beer! We picture you unwinding with a glass at a backyard cookout on a hot August night. Recommended for fans of Gose, Berliner Weisse, and Grätzer. Action/Adventure is brewed with cherrywood-smoked malt to balance the lactic tartness. We made use of wild lactobacillus that naturally occurs on grain to sour our wort overnight. In the pictures below, you can see the bags of crushed grain on their way into the kettle.”

Random: I was never a big fan of Grimm’s fairy tales.

This beer poured with half a finger of white head that was very quick to dissipate and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy orange with heavy carbonation visible, despite the cloudiness. The nose was tart with orange with a hint of smoke and some wood as well. The taste was really interesting. It started with some tartness and then transitioned into some smoke wood and then a hint yeast. Despite the really strong flavors, the body was really light with high carbonation. It had a long finish with smoke and yeast. This was definitely one of the more interesting beers that I’ve had in a long time and would definitely have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

On Sunday, the other half and I headed into Brooklyn and Manhattan. We stopped in Brooklyn at Smorg, which is a huge outdoor food festival on Sundays right by the Brooklyn Bridge. Had it not been insanely hot, I would have really enjoyed it. But, it was definitely way too hot. After that, we headed to the new Whole Foods in Gowanus. After we picked up a few brews that we can’t get in Jersey, we headed to the upstairs bar to kill some time and I watched some baseball. This was the brew that the other half got and let me review.

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ABV: 5%

Style: Light Lager

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Baby it’s hot out! Our summer seasonal is an easy-drink lagrrr! infused with refreshing lemon finish. Flavorful as you’d expect from us, so your taste buds won’t need to go on vacation.”

Random: I wish Whole Foods locations in Jersey had the same setup as out-of-state ones. They’re pretty awesome.

This brew poured with a one finger, white head that dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy yellow color with light carbonation present. The nose had some lemon rind and a touch of sugar to it. The taste was a rather abrupt change from what I expected given the nose. The taste was really medicinal, almost like green NyQuil and very, very herbal. There was not a lot of lemon at all, just a weird spice character and the herbal notes, that were honestly just awful to me. The body was light with decent carbonation. It had a long finish with said weird spice. Although I definitely want to try some more brews from this relatively local brewery, I was not a fan of this one at all.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0