Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

I didn’t know that Almanac was canning beers. When I saw this on the shelves, I had to grab it.


ABV: 4.3%

Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Mandarina’s tart and citrusy profile makes it the perfect beer for warm, sunny days. The combination of crisp tartness, tangerines and the citrus aromas of Mandarina Bavaria and Citra hops puts this farmhouse ale’s fruity aroma over the top. Pair this summer sipper with a day at the beach, fresh seafood and citrus-infused desserts. Our Fresh Beer Series delivers the best in farm fresh beer. Big flavors, bold yeast characters and huge hop aromas reflect our rich California agricultural bounty. Every beer is brewed, packaged and shipped with an eye towards maximum freshness. All of our Fresh Beers are designed to pair with a wide variety of cuisine—so enjoy a pour of The Golden State’s most flavorful beer.”

Random: This is the first beer that I’ve had from their Fresh Beer series.

This beer poured with a one finger, white head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was very hazy and bright yellow in color. There wasn’t much carbonation visible. The nose was fragrant and had a lot of floral and citrus notes.I picked up a star fruit note as well. The taste was also very floral. It had some tartness along with oranges and tangerines. The star fruit was in the taste as well, along with wheat. It had a light body with moderate carbonation, that needed to be increased. The finish was quick and filled with citrus. I picked up this can for $2.50, which came to $.21 per ounce. This was an easy drinking beer with lots of bright citrus flavor, it just needed to have a little more carbonation. This is a great session beer for any time of year. Pick up a can next time you see one on the shelf.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0


Happy Sunday! I’m so happy that football is back. I missed it. To celebrate that, let’s review a really hyped beer.


ABV: 12.4%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A Night To End All Dawns is a massive imperial stout aged over a year in bourbon barrels. The extended aging allowed seasonal temperature fluctuations in the barrels to draw bold flavors from the oak that can only develop with time. The heat of the bourbon gave way to a subtle caramel sweetness, and the bold, sharp edges of the roasted malt mellowed and married with notes of vanilla and oak. ABV: 12.4%”

Random: Val is watching “Project Runway: Junior.” It’s even worse than the regular one.

The beer poured with a full finger of light brown head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. It did however, leave a small crown. The body was an inky black with no visible carbonation due to the dark color. The nose was huge on this beer. It was filled with oak, bourbon and lots of dark chocolate. Coffee came through next with a bitter smell. The taste was a bit softer than the nose. It still had a lot of bitterness and dark chocolate. Bourbon and oak came through next. It was more bitter than all of the other variants. It had a thick and syrupy body with light carbonation. The finish lasted while with chocolate and coffee. Since I’ve been aging this for a long time, I don’t know how much I paid for this one. This was an excellent beer, just not as good as the variants to me.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Val loves Trader Joe’s. When we bought the house, it put us further out from them, but she still makes time to go. Occasionally, I go with her. It’s always crowded and I’m not the biggest fan of getting hit with a cart. I do like their food and they have some interesting things, along with beers that are only available there, like this one.


ABV: 5.5%

Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Trivia: This was the beer that they made for Trader Joe’s 50th anniversary.

Random: TJ’s used to have these breakfast burritos with turkey sausage and eggs. They were my favorite, but then they were discontinued.

The beer poured with a two finger, thick, pure white head. It dissipated slowly, but only left minor lacing on the glass. There was a small crown left. The body was mostly clear and yellow with moderate carbonation visible. The nose was bright and floral with rose petals and hibiscus up front. It had some yeast as well. The taste also had rose petals along with yeast and tropical fruit. I picked up some banana and bubble gum as well. Spice was present, although light. Peach was at the end of the sip. The body was on the thicker side for the style with moderate carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with ripe fruit, specifically peach. Val bought this for me, so I’m not sure how much it was. This was an easy drinking saison and I could see it pairing well with summer cuisine. If TJ’s still has it, grab a bottle.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Tonight’s beer is another Ommegang beer that is a relatively new addition to their portfolio.


ABV: 5.3%

Style: Oatmeal Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Ommegang’s adds a touch of frost to new winter seasonal. For the next few months, there will be plenty of snow-filled woods by which to stop and ponder in Ommegang’s Upstate New York, Cooperstown home. It only seemed fitting therefore to seek inspiration from Robert Frost’s famous poem ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ when name-storming monikers for the brewery’s new winter-warmer seasonal. Lovely, Dark and Deep, an oatmeal stout, is set to reach retail in early November. ‘Winter is lengthy in Upstate New York and we wanted to brew a beer that we could enjoy throughout the long, cold months,’ says Mike McManus, Ommegang’s Innovation Manager. ‘Lovely, Dark, and Deep not only reflects well the nature of our winters here, but also the beer. At 5.3% ABV the second follows easily after the first, while the chocolate, roast, and coffee characters provide enough to explore. It should be perfect during, or after, a day of winter fun.’ Lovely, Dark and Deep pours deep black with a tan, creamy mousse-like head. Aromas of roasted malt and coffee with cream, coupled with subtle notes of chocolate and dark fruit from Ommegang’s house yeast prevail. Flavors of rich chocolate milk, and coffee and cream are impeccably balanced with restrained sweetness and hints of roastiness. The finish is silky smooth with a medium to full body. Brewed with a rich blend of malts including chocolate malt, midnight wheat, and flaked oats, and given a small addition of lactose, Lovely, Dark and Deep has a hint of sweetness and a smooth body. The beer is hopped with Bravo and Styrian Golding hops and Ommegang’s signature house yeast is used in both primary and secondary fermentation. Lovely, Dark and Deep is the perfect beer to pair with a light meal by a hot, crackling fire on a cold winter’s night. Cozy up and watch the flames while you pair sips with aged cheddar, a hunk of dark bread with natural sweetness like pumpernickel, and slices of cold meats, like rare roast beef, with stone ground mustard. Or even, with some roasted chestnuts. Four-packs of 12 oz. bottles and draft will be available across Ommegang’s 43-state distribution area.”

Random: I think I wrote a book report about Robert Frost in elementary school.

The beer poured with a two finger, fluffy, light brown head. It went away slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was black in color with no visible carbonation due to color. The nose had some smoke, roasted malts, dark chocolate and lactose. The taste started with cream and lactose and quickly went into smoke and ash with some dark chocolate. Oats came through as well. The body was on the thicker side, despite the almost sessionable ABV, with high carbonation. It had a lengthy and creamy finish. A bottle of this was $3, which broke down to $.25 per ounce. I thought this was a great beer and would definitely get this again. I hope they make it an annual seasonal.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Funky beers have really exploded and Transmitter has been putting out some great yeasty beers. I don’t remember exactly where or when I picked this one up, but hopefully it’s a good one.


ABV: 3.9%

Style: Berliner Weissbier

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Sour with notes of Citrus and Floral. Spelt Berliner style Weisse beer made with all NY State ingredients. Sour and light with refreshing citrus/pine notes and subtle floral nose.”

Random: The brewery says that you can cellar this, which I found interesting.

When I went to pop this open, the cork pretty much popped out itself, with the cage only slightly loosened. It gushed all over. I think I lost about a fifth of the beer, but luckily, I was by the sink when it opened. Thus, why you see the dish towel under the bottle. Once I got it into the glass, it had a huge, three and a half finger, white head. It dissipated at a snail’s pace and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy yellow color with moderate carbonation. The nose was a lot of yeast and some funk, but not a lot of sour. The taste was grassy and had some yeast and only a small amount of citrus. It was on the bland side, actually. The body was thin and bordered on watery with moderate carbonation. It had a quick and yeasty finish. The bottle was $16, which came $.73 per ounce. This beer was expensive and didn’t deliver for me. I wouldn’t get this again.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0

Every Christmas, my sister makes macaroons. One year, she left some out and I tried them. She didn’t tell me that there was wax paper on the bottom of them and they were incredibly chewy. Needless to say, now I always check the bottom of them before I try them.


ABV: 6.5%

Style: English Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Intense pure liquid cacao flavors swirl with popping coconut aromas, all supported by a semi-sweet porter made from loads of our dark chocolate and extra dark caramel malt. This limited release specialty comes around once a year to satisfy that sweet tooth, so get ’em while you can before they disappear. At 6.5% ABV and 25 IBUs, this choconut goodness will have you yellin’ ‘Pass. Dash. Hit.’ all winter long.”

Random: Val is not a big fan of coconut.

This beer poured with a two finger, light brown and fluffy head. It was slow to dissipate and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was black with no visible carbonation. The nose was a combination of smoke, chocolate and toasted coconut. It reminded me of that coconut and chocolate Girl Scout cookie. The taste had coconut water and roasted coconut up front. It quickly went into ash, smoke, dark chocolate and even a little peat. Roasted malts were present as well. The body was thick with lots of carbonation as well. It had a lengthy finish with chocolate and toasted coconut. A can of this was $3.25, which came to $.27 per ounce. I enjoyed this beer a lot, but if you’re not a fan of coconut, this isn’t a beer for you.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

I got an Amazon Echo awhile ago and we hooked it up. We also put in a smart switch for a light in the living room, which I’m absolutely in love with. We also got our Nest to work (finally) since our house was wired like a drunk monkey. Even the electrician agreed. We’re well on our way to a smart home. Anyways, let’s get to the beer.


ABV: 8.7%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “THE BIG SHOW. An ideally balanced double IPA without inhibition or prohibition for flavor. PUNISHING HOPS & THERAPEUTIC MALTS. DIPA striving for balance, but has an inexorable desire for American hops. NARCISSISTIC SATISFACTION. When intense flavorful food is desired, this beer is its love-object.”

Random: This is available all year long.

The beer poured with a one finger, white head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The head was super thick as well. The body of the beer was bright orange and slight cloudy with a lot of carbonation. On the nose, there was a lot of sticky pine resin with nothing else. I couldn’t pick up any malt. The taste was a bit more balanced. There was sticky pine resin along with some overripe mango and pineapple notes. Grapefruit zest came through next, which was quickly followed up with biscuity malt. The body was on the thick side with high carbonation. The finish was lengthy and filled with pine resin. I picked up a can of this for $2.75, which came to $.23 per ounce. This was a solid double IPA that I would have again, but I wish it had more depth.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0