Monday, February 28, 2011

Brown, it's the new black.

Brewery: Victory Brewing Co.
Location: Downingtown, PA
Name: Yakima Glory
Type: American Black Ale
ABV: 8.7%
This beer gets its name from the Yakima Valley of Washington state. According to the label, Yakima Valley is also the heartland of American hops. If you read the label further you may be lead to believe that you were about to jump into a black ale. My eyes lead me down another path. Yakima Glory is a deep brown, chestnut color. Far from the liquid soot I was expecting. The head pops up nice and fluffy before dissolving into craggy peaks of off-white hues. Lacing seems to be an afterthought for Mr. Glory. YG opens up nicely in the nose. One might find an abundance of piney hops engaging in scented fisticuffs with a roasted malt scent. However, if you have your nose stuck in the bouquet long enough, hops becomes the clear victor. This beer fills the mouth nicely, medium body with ample carbonation makes a nice impression. The taste is pretty awesome actually. Of course you will have hops up front but unlike other "black" ipa's this beer doesn't have that ultra bitter (though delicious in its own way) roasted malt flavor. Instead, the roasted malt blends nicely with the hops ultimately winding down into caramel and toffee flavors. Even though Yakima Glory may be the brownest black ale I have come across it's actually a great way to usher someone into the BIPA world. A warming ABV, layered smell and taste, and a smooth finish make this beer worth repeating!
Even without Denzel Washington, Glory tastes great!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Moo Thunder was my wrestling nickname in highschool.

Brewery: Butternuts Beer & Ale
Location: Garrattsville, NY
Name: Moo Thunder
Type: Milk Stout
ABV: 4.9%
For the record, I did not wrestle in high school. I practiced to wrestle in junior high. But I dislocated my shoulder during the second (or so) practice which spared me from having to deal with the embarrassment of having to wear a singlet. That being said...this beer cost me one American dollar and fifty American cents! Yes! Twelve ounces for a buckfiddy. And the name was just too hard to pass up. Plus...Butternuts is the name of the brewery? Ok, I'm in. Moo Thunder looks exactly like you would expect a stout of the milk variation to look like. That fine mix of swirling darkness that borders on the line of watered down tar. The head reminded me of cookie dough. I was excited because Moo Thunder looked relatively chewy or "full bodied" for the layperson. The bouquet was pretty standard stout fare...bitter roasted malt yet this one had a slightly milky-sweet undertone to it. Expecting motor oil, I instead got a fairly carbonated and dry finishing beer. The taste was malty and roasty like a bitter cup of coffee. There's nothing mind blowing about Moo Thunder and the overall flavor profile isn't terribly overpowering or confusing. I can honestly say that this beer is alright. Don't get me wrong, this beer is a pretty tasty bargain at $1.50 which is more than what can be said for a beer like Natty.
Ya know, Cock Lightning Stout just wouldn't have sounded right.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

No friars were harmed in the consumption of this beer.

Brewery: 21st Amendment Brewery
Location: Cold Springs, MN
Name: Monk's Blood
Type: Belgian Dark Ale
ABV: 8.3%
From it's canned prison springs forth a torrent of rich ruby tinged tawny brown liquid which wears a snow white foam cap that hangs around for an insane amount of time. Seriously. The head on this thing has squatter's rights. Lots of activity in the glass as you can clearly see a good amount of carbonation going on. The bouquet on these 12 ounces of abbot's hemoglobin ale is full and sweet. Notes of dark cherry, vanilla, and figs all make a stop in the ol' nose region. Subtle hints of cinnamon dance around as if not quite invited yet not going to get kicked out of the party sort of way. The taste mirrors the smell almost note for note. Fruity, sweet, malty, and spicy flavors provide a full on taste bud frontal assault. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a clean finish that provides a bit of that warming alcohol sensation. What I like about it is that the alcohol taste is not distracting at all and provides a great accompaniment to the robust flavors of the beer. Definitely not a warm weather beer but it is quite tasty. I've been on the hunt for this beer for about 2 years and I can't fully explain how happy I was to finally get my hands on it. Though I feel the experience was slightly marred by a fever and body aches. But I'm not looking for sympathy...yet, if you were to feel as if you wanted to send me some "Get Better Beers" I can supply you with an appropriate address that will be more than happy to receive said beers. A quick redemption for the fellas at 21st Amendment...the sins of Fireside Chat have been quickly absolved. Seek this beer. Exsanguinate you some holy hermits!
Take that Friar Tuck!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Impeachment would be harsh.

Brewery: 21st Amendment Brewery
Location: Cold Spring, MIN
Name: Fireside Chat
Type: Winter Warmer
ABV: 7.9%
This may be the shortest review I write. Seriously. I'm trying to think of ways to bolster the length of this and the only thing I can do is write about how short this post will be. Counter intuitive? Call it what you want. First of all, great packaging. FDR is a pimp. Secondly, this is a pretty beer. A super deep amber-y brown produces an awesome khaki colored cloudy head. Then, things go horribly awry. The nose is plentiful with the spices. Some malt and toffee notes show up as well. Commence the tasting. There's a very "attention needing" quality to this beer. The flavor is sharp and sour almost instantly. What first could be written off as tart turns harshly into sour and it persists. There's a brief splash of malt in the middle but it's just a rough tasting beer. I couldn't finish it. In my opinion, 21st Amendment missed the boat on this one. I'm inclined to encourage my fellow beer lovers to pass this one up.
Really? He poured it out?

Hoptiheads...Roll out!

Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Location: Chico, CA
Name: Hoptimum
Type: Imperial IPA
ABV: 10.4%
Psst! Hey! Hey, you! You like hops? I've got something for you. Seriously. For those of you who need hops in their life, this beer is for you. It's borderline sentient with its hopdom. An enormous fluffy white head caps off honey colored deliciousness. The bouquet is awesome; bright and aromatic. It's kind of like getting punched in the nose by a pissed off pine tree who just happened to be eating a massive grapefruit. The taste is just as good as the smell. It's as if the oily resin of a ton of hops was just squeezed into a bottle and sealed. The triumvirate is all there: pine, citrus, and floral hops give your palate something to think about. There's a slightly sweet taste on the back end that is not at all distracting. A bitter aftertaste, though nothing gnarly, brings Hoptimum home. This is a fantastic offering from the guys in Chico. If you can find a bomber of this, grab it! It was a limited release that shouldn't have been missed by anyone!
Hops should be their own food group.