Hofbrauhaus Freising Dunkel

One thing that I crave with relative frequency is German food, but there are very few German restaurants around us. We found a really good one in Philly, but we don’t get there as often as I would like. Not only do they have exceptional food, but they have a really good beer list as well. This was a beer that I had while there.

ABV: 5.2%

Style: Munich Dunkel Lager

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “Freising is the oldest town between Regensburg and Bolzano and located in Upper Bavaria north of Munich, near Munich International Airport, on the Isar river. There are two hills, the cathedral hill with the bishop’s castle and Freising cathedral, and Weihenstephan Hill with Weihenstephan Abbey, the oldest working brewery in the world. It was also the first recorded place of a European tornado. The city is 448 meters above sea level.”

Random: We’re supposed to go to Germany in December and I am very excited to try the beer there.

The beer poured with a thick, two finger, loose, cream-colored head. The body was a deep mahogany color with a lot of visible carbonation. The nose had some sweet notes of toffee and caramel with some mineral water. The taste was also quite sweet. There was caramel, toffee and hazelnut with some mineral water as well. There was some brown bread crust too. The body was on the lighter side with a lot of carbonation. The finish was lengthy with brown bread. I thought this was a good beer and paired well with German food. If you see it on tap, it’s worth a try.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

The Bruery Mocha Wednesday

Since I’m considered essential personnel, I’m still going into work everyday. One of the small slivers of positive things about this whole pandemic is that my commute has been cut in half. We’ve been working extended shifts and I’ve been hitting my daily goal of steps before I leave for work everyday, so I’m exhausted and relaxing on the couch. Let’s see how this beer was.

ABV: 19.9%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Mocha Wednesday makes its return! The perfect follow-up to Black Tuesday, this beer adds layers of artisan dark chocolate and bold coffee flavors, especially when consumed fresh, thanks to cacao nibs from San Francisco-based TCHO and freshly roasted coffee from Mostra Coffee.”

Random: Val bought me TCHO chocolate years ago and I really enjoyed it. It had a nice flavor and the dark chocolate was pleasantly bitter.

The beer poured with a one finger, light tan colored head. It dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was dark brown, almost black. There was no visible carbonation. The nose was filled with roasted malts and coffee and dark chocolate. There was some alcohol as well. The taste was remarkably smooth with lots of dark chocolate, roasted malts, and dark coffee. The alcohol was there and brought some heat, but it wasn’t overwhelming. The body was thick and chewy with light carbonation. The finish was lengthy with coffee and dark chocolate. This was a really strong beer, but had a lot of good flavor. I would definitely have it again.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

The Bruery Grey Monday

Obviously, I’ve avoided talking a lot about the global pandemic and it’s because I feel like I need a distraction from it. I work in clinical trial supply, so I’m still going to work every day, but it’s still stressful. So, I’d prefer to talk about beer instead.

ABV: 19.9%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Grey Monday is a special, limited edition version of our Black Tuesday imperial stout to which we’ve added hazelnuts to the barrels while the beer ages. Originally concocted for a molecular gastronomy dinner at a favorite Orange County restaurant a few years ago, this variation on our already popular stout was an instant hit both among the restaurant diners and our own staff, begging to be brewed again and bottled up.”

Random: One of my favorite candies has dark chocolate and hazelnuts in it.

The beer poured with a half a finger of light brown head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was an inky dark brown with no carbonation visible. The nose had a lot of dark chocolate and some sugar sweetness that quickly went into some nutella notes. The taste was even better than the nose. There was a lot of dark chocolate and cocoa powder that went into hazelnut notes. There was some vanilla and oak as well with some alcohol warming. The body was thick and heavy and chewy with light carbonation. It had a lengthy and sticky finish with dark chocolate and hazelnut. I enjoyed this beer a lot and would definitely have it again.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

SweetWater Dank Tank Fresh Sticky Nugs

Val and I are watching the Disney movie “Pocahontas” and I’m calling out all of the things that are historically inaccurate. I must be a dream to watch movies with. Let’s talk about beer instead.

ABV: 8%

Style: American Imperial/Double IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Riding high from a series of dank decisions, Farmer MacDanknug’s lust for lupulin once again led him to search for the freshest hop fields he could find. His bountiful harvest of Sabro and Lotus flew into our brewhouse on a western wind, and when the steam subsided, out pourd a decidedly dank double IPA with aromas of tangerine and vanilla. Through the hop haze came a tongue tilling combination of citrus and stone fruit flavors. The Dank Tank is where our brewers go to play. There’s no rhyme or reason to what they brew, and the only requirement is that it be heady.”

Random: This beer is available on draft and in cans.

The beer poured with a thick, one and a half finger, slightly off white head. It dissipated at a rapid pace and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a caramel color with some cloudiness, but lots of carbonation visible. The nose was filled with pine sap and pine needles along with some grass as well. There was a touch of sweetness from the caramel malt as well. The body was shockingly light, given the ABV, and had a lot of carbonation. The finish was lengthy and sticky with lots of pine. I thought this beer was really good. I would definitely have this again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

The Bruery Black Tuesday

Tonight’s selection is a beer that I’ve waited years to try. I’m so excited to crack it open, so let’s see how it was.

ABV: 19.5%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “The Wall Street Crash of 1929, also known as the Great Crash, was a major stock market crash that occurred in 1929. It started in September and ended late in October, when share prices on the New York Stock Exchange collapsed. It was the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States, when taking into consideration the full extent and duration of its aftereffects. The crash, which followed the London Stock Exchange’s crash of September, signaled the beginning of the Great Depression.”

Random: For some reason, I never made the connection between the beer name and the Great Depression.

The beer poured with a small, tan head that was about a quarter of a finger high that dissipated instantly. It left no lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown color that was almost black. I could see some carbonation. The nose was filled with vanilla and bourbon and quickly went into dates and plums. The taste was intense. It started with dark chocolate, booze and then went into vanilla, bourbon and dates. The body was thick and chewy with light carbonation. The finish was lengthy and sticky with lots of bourbon and dark chocolate. This beer was outstanding and complex. It isn’t cheap and it gets a lot of hype, but it was definitely worth a try.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

The Bruery Vindictive II

Val and I took a nice, long walk today. Given everything else going on, we’ve been trying to get as much exercise as we possible can. We’re both still going to work everyday, but it’s definitely super stressful. We’ve been trying to avoid the news and just distract ourselves. Anyway, let’s get to the beer.

ABV: 16.1%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “If some of the best wines are blends of several grape varieties, imagine what could be achieved when applied to beer. This Black Tuesday varietal is blended and fermented with must from 75% destemmed and 25% whole cluster Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grapes from Sans Liege. After nearly a year in oak, this release vanquishes the boundaries between wine and beer.”

Random: I’m starting to watch a series on keeping big cats in Florida. As much as I love cats, I wouldn’t keep big cats outside of a zoo or their habitat.

The beer poured with no head on top of an inky, black head that showed no carbonation whatsoever. The nose had a lot of chocolate, cocoa and some bourbon as well. There was some red wine notes as well with oak and vanilla. The taste started with the same cocoa note, but quickly went into red wine, vanilla and brown sugar. There was a lot of booze and vanilla as well. The body was thick with light carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with red wine and cocoa powder. This beer was outstanding and I would definitely have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Bottle Logic Cantrip Kolsch

While we were out in Anaheim (months ago), we managed to catch a Ducks game. I really enjoyed the arena and I always liked the team, having grown up with the Disney movie. Let’s discuss a beer that hails from Anaheim.

ABV: 4%

Style: Kolsch

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “Anaheim is a city in Orange County, California, part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a population of 336,265, making it the most populous city in Orange County and the 10th-most populous city in California. Anaheim is the second-largest city in Orange County in terms of land area, and is known for being the home of the Disneyland Resort, the Anaheim Convention Center, and two major sports teams: the Anaheim Ducks ice hockey club and the Los Angeles Angels baseball team. Anaheim was founded by fifty German families in 1857 and incorporated as the second city in Los Angeles County on March 18, 1876; Orange County was split off from Los Angeles County in 1889. Anaheim remained largely an agricultural community until Disneyland opened in 1955. This led to the construction of several hotels and motels around the area, and residential districts in Anaheim soon followed. The city also developed into an industrial center, producing electronics, aircraft parts and canned fruit. Anaheim is a charter city.”

Random: I liked Anaheim a lot more than I thought I was going to. I went to Disneyland as a kid and don’t remember liking it as much as I did as an adult.

Since this was another beer that I had poolside, I have no comments about the appearance or the head. But, I did get a pleasant odor of grains and some mineral water. The taste was had some cracker to it, along with some floral notes. There was a touch of grass as well. The body was light with a decent amount of carbonation. The finish was quick with flowers and cracker. This beer went down easily, but not the best of the style I’ve had.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Bottle Logic Stealth Mode

Tonight’s beer is one that I enjoyed during a vacation in California. We went to Disneyland and I realized that Bottle Logic is in Anaheim, so we took a drive over. The bartender said that this was one of his favorite beers, so I had to give it a try.

ABV: 5%

Style: Berliner Weissbier

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “While California has no shortage of quality craft beer, we feel that Bottle Logic is something special. Our commitment to excellence combined with a willingness to break and rewrite the rules makes us different. We aren’t experimenting randomly; each experimental beer provides new insight on flavor combinations and techniques that are as of yet unexplored. Our customers will join us on this experimental journey in one of Southern California’s finest tasting rooms where new beers will be available each week for tasting enjoyment. ”

Random: I enjoyed hanging out at the pool in Santa Barbara. It was quite relaxing.

Since I was sitting by the pool enjoying this, I did not have the chance to pour it. But, it did have a really pleasing berry aroma with blueberry, raspberry and some white vinegar as well. The taste had some generous tartness to it with a lot of berries. Blueberries were pronounced, but I could pick out blackberry as well. The body was on the lighter side with lots of carbonation present. It had a lengthy finish with fresh berries. This beer was exceptional and was perfect to pair with a day at the pool. I highly recommend this one.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Institution Recover The Pieces

Val and I were looking for a place to stop and have lunch when we arrived in Santa Barbara and found this place and gave it a shot.

ABV: 6.8%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Visit us at our on-site tasting room connected to the brewery in Camarillo or our taproom located on State Street in Santa Barbara, Ca. Both locations are open seven days a week. Enjoy a rotating selection of beers from the source and freshly baked thin crust pizzas and soft pretzels from our kitchen. Our Camarillo location offers indoor seating with seven TVs, game room, and an outdoor patio area with fire pit. Our Santa Barbara location offers indoor seating with 10 TVs, an outdoor patio area and extended back room area. NO reservations – first come, first served. Beer available to-go in 4-pack 16 oz cans, 32 oz and 64 oz growlers/crowlers. Food is also available to-go.”

Random: I liked Santa Barbara a lot. Institution had a really nice location and very chill vibe. The pizza was quite good as well.

The beer poured with a two finger, pure white head. The body was orange and had a lot of carbonation visible. The nose had a decent amount of pine and grass to it. It had some malt as well with a touch of onion. The taste had some pine needles as well with pine sap. The malt was not as pronounced in the taste as it was in the nose. There was some cilantro as well. The body was on the lighter side with generous carbonation. The finish was lengthy with pine. This beer was really clean and crisp and had a nice flavor. I would have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Karl Strauss Aurora Hoppyalis IPA

Tonight’s beer is one from Karl Strauss that I had awhile back, when I was out in California. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 7%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Karl Strauss Brewing Company is a San Diego, California-based craft brewery with eleven brewpub locations across Southern California and an onsite tasting room at their main brewery in the Pacific Beach neighborhood of San Diego. Besides being available at its own brewpubs the company’s beers are distributed across all of California. Karl Strauss is the oldest surviving brewery in San Diego County, having been founded in 1989, and is credited with launching the county’s rise to prominence in the craft brewing industry. Based on 2016 sales volume it is the 47th largest brewery in the United States. In 2016 Karl Strauss was declared the Mid-Size Brewery of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival.”

Random: The Karl Strauss logo reminds me of the Jack Daniels logo.

The beer poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated quickly. It left no lacing on the glass. The body was slightly cloudy and bright yellow in color. The nose had a lot of pine needles and some caramel malt. The taste was much of the same. There was a lot of pine needles and grass along with malt. The body was on the lighter side with a lot of carbonation. It had a quick finish with pine. This was a decent IPA that was worth a shot.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0