Archive for June, 2016

I feel like I don’t hate this whole hard soda thing as much as everyone else seems to. Val is a big fan of them, so I get to try sips here and there. This one got highly rated in an article I read a few months ago that compared five different hard root beers. Let’s see how it was.

rowhardroot

ABV: 6.7%

Style: Herbed/Spiced Beer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Root Sellers Row Hard Root Beer is an alcoholic root beer brewed with pure cane sugar, molasses, spices and botanicals. It is a true root beer inspired by the traditional brews first made by American colonists more than two centuries ago. It has a creamy head with notes of vanilla, molasses, sassafras and wintergreen with a sweet finish. Row Hard Root Beer brewed without grain and it is gluten free.”

Random: I miss football season.

This beer poured with no head on top of a dark brown body. There was moderate carbonation visible. The nose was fragrant. There was booze, vanilla and A&W root beer. The alcohol has a certain astringency to it, like hard liquor. The taste had some sugary sweetness and molasses up front. Vanilla and clove came through too. It had a lot of booziness for a hard soda. It wasn’t the best hard root beer I’ve had, but definitely not the worst. The body was on the thicker side with lots of carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with booze warming and vanilla. This was $2.50 a can, which came to $.16 per ounce. I didn’t hate this hard root beer, but there are better selections out there. Still, if you’re into hard root beers, it’s worth a try.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Today is my sister’s birthday. Almost every year on her birthday, it rains. Last year was one of the first that it didn’t. I’m not sure what her plans are, but hopefully she has a great day today. Anyways, beer time.

youenjoymystout

ABV: 10.5%

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “THE CROWD GOES WILD! A smooth bass line of roasted notes establishes the deep end beneath arpeggios of complex chocolate malt, while power chords of caramelized grain open up to an extended malty jam. Black barley teases treacle character and wades into a velvety sea of oak-derived vanilla and toasted coconut tones. Sustained improvisation of fruitiness modulates to an intense finale, and encores with a rich, espresso-roasted reprise, a capella.”

Random: Val picked out this beer because she loved the label.

The bottle opened with a huge pop of the cork and it almost overflowed. The head was three fingers high and a light brown head. It took awhile to dissipate and left some lacing on the glass. The body was black and I couldn’t see any carbonation. The nose was filled with burnt malt. It also had bourbon, vanilla, oak and a lot of smoke. Leather and tobacco came through as well. The taste was bitter with roasted malts and dark chocolate. There was tobacco on this as well. The bourbon came through at the end with vanilla. There was a lot of booze warming too. The body was weirdly thin with light carbonation. The finish was quick and astringent. A bomber of this was $12, which came to $.55 per ounce. I wanted to love this beer, but it was only alright.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

This is a Carton beer that I picked up at the brewery. I’ve never had any beers from their Swisher series, so I was interested in giving this one a shot.

grapeswisher

ABV: 6.2%

Style: Rauchbier

Trivia: According to beeradvocate.com, “Smoked malt is one of the more dubious tools in a brewer’s bag because thresholds are vastly different. What to one palate is a hint of bacon or a whiff of BBQ to another is ashtray or Band-Aids. How can Carton ignore playing this game? Where can smoldering aromatics go off the beaten craft? In Grape Swisher we have reassembled the deconstructed aspects of a flavored blunt. Rich, dark malts rendered smoky by the addition of oak smoked pale wheat touched with concord grapes and a heavy plug of the hops that smell like their cousins. Drink Grape Swisher and hand me down a 50-pack.”

Random: I’ve never been a big fan of grape-flavored things.

The beer poured with a huge, three finger, tan head that dissipated slowly and left lots of lacing on the glass The body was a dark brown, that was almost black, with no visible carbonation due to the color. The nose had a lot of smoke with grape flavoring. It had some light oak as well. The taste was way more towards the grape side, but it was bordering on a grape bubble-gum flavor. There was smoke as well, but the grape flavoring was dominant. It had tobacco as well. The body was on the heavier side with lots of carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with tobacco and grape bubble gum. This beer was definitely interesting, although not something I would want to have daily. I think it’s worth a shot.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

I have a few days before I head back to Jersey. I cannot wait to get home. One of the things I’ve found that California does not do well is pizza. The site that I am stationed at gets pizza every few days and the best pizza they can find comes from Costco. It’s fine, but it’s not Jersey pizza. I will say that the tacos here are really, really good. The weather is nice too, although a bit too warm for my liking. Anyways, let’s talk about this beer from Chicago.

lepredateur

ABV: 6.5%

Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A beret-wearing, baguette-eating, mustached farmhouse ale made with French malts, French saison yeast, and Australian hops… what?”

Random: This is a fall seasonal release.

The beer poured with a half of a finger of white head. It dissipated instantly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, straw yellow with moderate carbonation. The nose had a lot of sweet honey. There was also banana and bubblegum. There was also some clove. The taste had a lot of banana. Apricot came through too. The next thing that came through was yeast and clove with coriander. White pepper finished the sip. It had a thick body for the style with high carbonation. The finish was quick with spice. A single cost me $3, which came to $.25 per ounce. I enjoyed this beer a lot. It had really nice depth and flavor. I would have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Today’s selection is a cider from Woodchuck that Val picked out. I love chamomile tea, but I haven’t had much experience with it in beer or cider. I guess there is a first time for everything?

oopsydaisy

ABV: 5.5%

Style: Cider

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “You ever screw something up? Oops. We all have. Bring on the stress mixed anxiety. Our advice? Take a moment, breathe deep and sip a Woodchuck Oopsy Daisy. This crisp cider is infused with the actual chamomile flowers after fermentation imparting the calming essence of Chamomile with notes of honey throughout. Sit back, sip, relax, and let the calm wash that stress away.”

Random: I had taquitos for breakfast today. There is a food truck at this site that comes every morning and the food is amazing.

The cider poured with a half a finger of white head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass, but left a small, white crown. The body was clear and orange with high carbonation. The nose had a lot of floral and tea notes, like an air freshener. There was some dry apple juice as well. The taste was incredibly floral as well, bordering on perfume-like. There was the same light, dry, apple note, but the dominant flavor was chamomile. The body was on the thin side with light carbonation. It had a quick finish with chamomile. A single bottle was $2, which came to $.17 per ounce. I didn’t like this cider at all and wished that there was a honey note to it. I appreciate that they were trying something different, but it just wasn’t successful.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0

The other half and I went for Korean barbecue. I thought it was the same as Mongolian barbecue (which it obviously wasn’t) and the whole place smelled like meat. It wasn’t my favorite dining experience. But, I’m glad I got to try it.

terraincognita

ABV: 9.8%

Style: American Strong Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “‘Collaborating with Sierra Nevada on Terra Incognita the past three years has been a great experience,’ said Steven Pauwels, Boulevard’s Brewmaster. ‘We learn from each other, laugh a lot, and the beer we’ve made has impressed my taste buds every time. This year is no exception.’ Terra Incognita celebrates and merges strengths of Sierra Nevada (savvy use of whole-cone hops) and Boulevard (barrel aging prowess). The beer’s name means ‘land unknown’ and recalls the centuries old California Trail that connects the two breweries—an overland wagon trail across the western half of the US from Missouri river towns to what is now the state of California. This year’s final blend of Terra Incognita is a precise ratio: 55 percent wine barrel-aged ale, 32 percent bourbon barrel-aged ale, and 13 percent fresh ale. Sierra Nevada assertively hopped the brown ale before splitting it between red wine and bourbon barrels where it matured for 6 months, resulting in a 9.8% ABV blended beer whose earthy malt flavors are dressed in notes of tart fruit, vanilla and coconut.”

Random: I managed to get the flu on my business trip. I hate being sick away from home.

The beer poured with a half a finger of tan head. It went away quickly, but an eighth of an inch crown hung around on the body. The body was dark sienna and there was some carbonation that I could see. The nose started with light brown sugar and malt. It quickly went into a vinous quality with red grapes. It had a touch of vanilla and oak character from bourbon aging. The taste started with vanilla, coconut and oak. It then went into the same vinous quality with red grapes. It followed up with a slight sweetness and brown sugar. Some molasses came through too. The body was thin for the style and had light carbonation. It also had some booze warming at the end. The finish was shockingly quick with vanilla warming. The bottle was $15.99, which came to $.73 per ounce. I liked this beer a lot, although I thought the vinous quality took away from the other flavors, not added to it.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Tonight’s selection is a big beer. It’s one that I’ve waited for at least 5 years to pull the trigger on. I finally did and I wasn’t disappointed.

averymephistopheles

ABV: 17.6%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Mephistopheles is the crafty shapeshifter, the second fallen angel; he who does not love light. Herein he patiently lies, waiting and willing to do your bidding, but for a price. Enter into his darkness, a tangled and intricate labyrinth of bittersweet rapture.”

Random: Val got me new socks for my trip and they are very cushion-ey.

The beer poured with less than a half a finger of tan head. It dissipated slowly, but left no lacing on my glass. Instead, it left a rather thick crown on top of the inky, black body. I couldn’t see anything through it. The nose had a lot of roasted malts and cold press coffee with leather. There was also a slight note of black licorice, but it didn’t overwhelm the beer. The taste started with roasted malts and intense smoke. Espresso came through too. It also had licorice and some sweetness that were like cocoa dusted truffles. The alcohol was present, but not nearly as big as the ABV would suggest. Anise was at the back of the sip. The body was syrupy thick with light carbonation. The finish hung around forever with coffee and truffles. A single bottle of this was expensive at $12 a bottle ($1 per ounce). I was impressed by this beer. It had incredibly depth and was a perfect sipper. I would highly recommend it.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0