Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I was awash in a sea of black

And there it was...ready to devour some part of my soul.
Brewery: Brewdog Ltd.
Location: Fraserburgh, Scotland
Beer: bashah
Type: "The Black Belgian style Double IPA."
Dear. Lord. I felt like this beer required, nay, DEMANDED some sort of ceremonial procedure of sacrifice upon its opening. I half expected a plume of smoke to rise from the bottle. I wanted notes of sulfur, hellfire, AND brimstone. What I got was liquid awesome. First things first, this is not your run of the mill IPA. In fact, there's nothing pale about this beast. With a color as black as Death's cloak and a persistent thin, tan head that reminds you of grave rot, this beer lets you know that it ain't anyone's bitch. And I say that with the utmost respect for this Stone/Brewdog concoction. Olfactory receptors let me know that deep inside this brew lies a rich roasted flavor...malt has been given to this dark lord in vast quantities. Hops and caramel come through quite nicely as well. All of those flavors laced with a toasted oaky scent. It's easy to think that this beer will invade your mouth like used motor oil, however, this beer lives up the IPA name and comes off nice and crisp. Real sturdy carbonation and then...BANG! Hello hops! Oh, hey coffee, didn't taste you there. Wait? Roasted and toasted caramel treats too?! Oh man, my palate is confused. But...I love you. bashah spreads its demonic wings and soars over your taste buds making you want to drink more and more. Do so with caution as 8.6% ABV waits for no one. If you come across this and  you're feeling daring, don't punk out. Cry havoc and let slip this brew!

A Sailor's Delight?

Brewery: Clipper City Brewing
Location: Baltimore, MD
Beer: Heavy Seas Red Sky at Night
Type: Saison Ale - French for "season," you'll find that most of these are refreshing summer ales.
Let me start by commending Clipper City Brewing for their Heavy Seas line. I'm a big fan of a number of their brews (expect to see reviews in the future) and I was very excited to try this for the first time. For the most part, Heavy Seas tend to be on the higher ABV side and Red Sky was no slouch with a 7.5% ABV...always excited to see a number above 5. The ale comes out a flawless golden honey color with little to no head. I'm not kidding, it barely foamed. It's hard not to notice the cascade of happy carbonation bubbles coursing through the glass. I was surprised with a big whiff of spice notes when I stuck my nose in my glass. Nutmeg and clove come through pretty strong. Past the lips is a different story. The spice gives way to a sweet, fruity first taste. Fruit subsides and the subtle spice and malt takes over, which makes for pleasant burps! This beer is indeed better for warmer weather. One may be taken aback by the slightly higher ABV but fear not, this beer is surprisingly refreshing. I did feel that it was lacking something. I wish I could be a little more descriptive than saying I felt it needed a little more body to it, but I can't quite put a finger on it. Red Sky at Night is pretty good overall but it is by far not the best Heavy Seas beer I've had.

And for what it's worth, pirates would make for better pizza delivery drivers than ninjas.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I think I'm turning Japanese

I really think so...
Brewery: Kuichi Brewery
Location: Ibaraki, Japan
Beer: Hitachino Nest Commemorative Ale 2010
Type: Ale, more specifically a "festive ale brewed with vanilla beans and spices."
I drank this for my birthday. I figured what better an occasion to drink a commemorative ale than my own personal birthday? The cute owl on the label should have been a warning sign that indicated huge flavor is packed in this 12oz bottle. The pour looks like a hazy orange-yellow unfiltered beer. It would be easy to mistake this as Blue Moon if you were just looking at it and had no intention of tasting it. Let me tell you, this is no Blue Moon. The slow falling, creamy off-white head covers up a bounty of exciting flavors. The sharp, piquancy of yeast is ever present and accompanied with great success by whiffs of orange peel. One mouthful gets you a smorgasbord of sweet flavors. Vanilla right off the bat (no surprise as it's noted right there on the label) lends way to subtle cinnamon and orange. I almost thought I picked up some nutmeg in there as well. Surprisingly, this beer leaves a fairly bitter aftertaste, but it is not so bad that you'll have to worry about running around with bitter beer face for the rest of the night. I would have no problem drinking another one of these. It feels lighter on the tongue than it's 8.0% ABV would make you think it would, which is never a terrible thing. Grab one of these if you're feeling adventurous and are looking for something slightly outside of the norm... Until next time...Sayonara!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A good case of the D.T's.

I see pink elephants...
Brewery: Huyghe Brewery
Location: Melle/Ghent, Belgium
Name: Delirium Tremens
Type: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
In case you were wondering, "delirium tremens," or the DT's as they are sometimes called, is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal that involves sudden and severe mental/neurological changes. Symptoms include tremors, seizures, and a whole slew of other fun brain reactions! Drink enough of this stuff and it's bound to happen! You might have seen this on the shelf before. It's the pretty white bottle with the pale blue label and matching blue foil on the cap. This beauty of a beer spills out in a golden pear colored cascade. Its quick rising head peaks strongly and then fades quickly. Right off the bat you inhale a sweet, yet tart, fruit bouquet that is mixed nicely with that almost sour, yet awesomely great, burst of yeast. This beer is unique in that it has a dry finish that I would compare to champagne. There are faint hints of spice to it, but I have a mildly retarded sense of taste/smell and couldn't quite identify it. DT comes in at a solid 8.5% ABV and lets you know it. Tessa loved this beer! I thought it was pretty damn good, however, I could not drink many of these in succession as its tart nature would undoubtedly leave me dealing with heartburn.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Southern Tier in the North?

A treat from my dad who went on business to New York!
Brewery: Southern Tier Brewing Co.
Location: Lakewood, NY
Name: ipa
Type: This one is escaping...can't quite categorize it...
Yay IPA!I like India Pale Ales. I mean, you could say I like most types of beer. I like beer. There, I said it. Happy now? In any case this was a pretty good beer. My only exposure to Southern Tier had been their Pumpking Ale (expect a ton of those in a special pumpkin beer throw-down edition of Little Boy Brew in the fall months) which I had enjoyed quite thoroughly so I was looking forward to this gem. Twelve ounces of fluid evening sunlight with bronze accents poured a massive, foamy, long lasting head in my pint glass. The nose is rich and grapefruit-y, pine notes of hops accompany the citrus salad. It's not as "in your face" with the hops as an Imperial IPA is, though. One would expect a harsh tongue out of this beer, but it wasn't bad at all! It's a milder IPA with a forgiving mouthfeel, nice and clean with no unhappy leftbehinds. You get the hops right up front and then a nice transition to the grapefruit and then back to the hops. You really get a taste of the hops in the aftertaste which leads to pine flavored burps! This beer is super flavorful and definitely someone should look into if they have yet to fully appreciate a good IPA. I did enjoy this one out of the bottle a little bit more, however. Yet it's just too pretty to not look at in a glass!

Any which way but Wychcraft

Have another round on me.

Brewery: Wychwood Brewery
Location: Witney, Oxford, England
Name: Wychcraft
Type: Blonde Ale
I've got to be honest, I've seen this several times and passed over it several times. Not sure why I passed it up, it just sort of happened. I always liked the way the bottle was shaped (big bottle coming in at 500ml) and the label is pretty good looking. It has the four elements depicted in each corner of the label. It's a nice looking label. But really, it's what inside that counts. The beer pours a somewhat hazy gold color with a mild reddish hue. Not much by way of foam action though. The bouquet gives you a barely there citrus scent with a mild hops aroma. Getting into it I found the taste to be a little disappointing. It has a mild taste...kind of sour. There's a hint of carbonation and came off feeling and tasting a little watered down. The aftertaste was an interesting mix of biscuits and quickly vanishing citrus. By no means is this a terrible beer but it is one that I would pass up in favor of something new. Looking back, it seems my negligence in picking this beer up was not a misstep.