Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I wish I had a clever title

But I don't. The holidays have been quite busy, but enjoyable for me this year. Thanks to some shopping and gifts, I have 25 different beers in the fridge right now, including my own spiced holiday ale that I'm rather proud of, and the ever-elusive Great Lakes Christmas Ale. Some interesting things I've found recently: this article from Crain's Cleveland Business about the demand and sales of Great Lakes Christmas Ale. Good stuff there!

I also have some Yuengling in the fridge thanks to my sister's drive through Pennsylvania to get to Ohio. With Yuengling picking up a new brewery, there's a chance it could be coming to Ohio! This would make me a happy boy! Though, I wondering if having it readily available would ruin a bit of the mystique. I'm open to finding out.

I've also recently subscribed (I love RSS) to the Brookston Beer Bulletin. It's a pretty cool site. Check out the beer in art, beer in ads, and especially Guinness ads sections.

With that said, reviews of the copious amounts of beer I have will be coming soon. For now, I'm off to play some Assassin's Creed while wearing my new Ninja Turtle snuggie.

Monday, December 20, 2010

La Fin Du Monde

Just from the look of La Fin Du Monde, the experience had me thinking of champagne with the foil top and the cork. It even smells a bit like champagne and sweet grapes. The color is a delightful, hazy yellow. The taste starts citrusy, then on to grapes, and finishes a bit dry with a spicy, peppery bite. The 9% ABV is present, but not overpowering. This is complex, smooth, and quite enjoyable.

Grade: A

Monday, December 13, 2010

An Ode to Christmas Ale

If you haven't had Great Lakes Christmas Ale, this song is all you need to know! My review will be coming soon, after I pick some more up! Truly one of my favorite beers.

There is one NSFW word, but it's not a big deal. We're all grown ups here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Evolution of the Beer Geek

Found this infographic at Beer and Whiskey Brothers. Clever stuff! I'd like to think of myself somewhere between Craftus Erectus and Geeko Sapien. Check out the rest of their infographics, too. I've been poking around their site a bit and I like it so far!

Drink With the Wench

The Wench is featuring the interview I filled out for her. This is awesome! She has a fantastic site and is great to follow on twitter, too. Thanks, Wench!

Monday, November 29, 2010

North Coast Brewing Old Rasputin Imperial Stout

Before I get to the review of Old Rasputin, I want to talk about Imperial Stouts as a style. First, they are some of my favorites! They were first brewed in the 1700s by English brewers in an attempt to win over Catherine The Great of Russia. Indeed, a royal beer. Imperial stouts, for lack of a better adjective, are huge in every way. Flavor, color, texture, ABV, all of it.

Old Rasputin pours black as onyx and is completely opaque with a huge, rocky, dark beige head. Jim Koch talks about being able to float a bottle cap on Sam Adams Boston Lager. You might be able to float the entire bottle on this head! The flavor is massive and complex. Lots of roasted and bitter notes with a little bit of expected coffee and chocolate. I also got some dark fruits, like currants. The finish is long, lingering, dry, and woody. Damn, is this beer amazing! Just know what you're getting yourself into.

There is some Cyrillic writing on the label, but I haven't been able to find the translation. I sure am curious, though!

Grade: A+

Friday, November 26, 2010

Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown

The 20 beers in 10 days challenge is complete! I have the shirt to prove it. One of my favorites was Leinenkugel's Fireside Nut Brown. There were notes of hazelnut and smoke, rich caramel. The mouthfeel was think and full. There was a late, light sweet finish and after it warmed even some background cinnamon and clove. I thought it was delicious! However, after reading several other reviews, it turns out I am one of the few who loved this beer. I had this on draft, so maybe that made a difference. And it wasn't my first beer of the evening, so that could have changed things, too. But I loved it. I took notes about it on the back of a receipt, if that tells you anything

Grade: A

Friday, November 19, 2010

20 Beers in 10 Days

I have decided to start Beer Barrel's 20 beers in 10 days challenge. And while a few of the beers are macros, this shouldn't be an issue AND I'll get a t-shirt!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

O'Fallon Smoked Porter

I love porters and I like smokiness so I thought I'd give O'Fallon Smoked Porter a try. It certainly pours just like a porter should. It is bitter, smoky, and there is a bit of nuttiness and even oak in there. The finish is a bit different than most porters (however I didn't write down why. Sorry.) But it's late, dry, and there's a hint of bacon! Mmmmm, bacon.

I certainly get the smoke, but it isn't overpowering. I could have gone for a bit more smoke flavor.

Grade: B

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Before After Beer

This is Before-After beer. It's Lithuanian. I must admit, I'll go after a beer just because of the label and name. Combine those with the 12% ABV and I had to try this. Yes, 12% ABV. For comparison, Bud Light as 4.2% ABV. So if you're looking for more punch from your beer, here you go.

I knew with a beer like this to expect something different and it certainly is. The color is crisp, clear, and orange. The taste was totally unexpected. Like red hot candies, a little bit of caramel, and oak. The finish even has some chile heat to it. It's incredibly complex, but I was a big fan. Even with that high of an ABV, I didn't think the alcohol was overpowering.

As a side note, it was nearly impossible to find any other reviews on this beer. Guess there aren't a lot of Lithuanian beers here!

Grade: A

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sierra Nevada Tumbler Review

Since Sierra Nevada is following me on twitter now (and you can too), I figure it was time to review one of their beers. Here is one of their fall offerings, Sierra Nevada Tumbler. It pours a dark brown color with hints of orange. Nothing really stands out in the taste. There are some hints of nuts, some roast, and some caramel. But it's full, earthy, easy to drink, and delicious. Perfect for a day of watching football. There are times where I just want a beer to taste good and I don't seek out all the nuances. This is one of them. Get it while you can!

Grade: A

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale

My appreciation for Sam Adams is growing (though, I will still never go near Cherry Wheat again, thank you). The Harvest Pumpkin Ale is a perfect fall beer. A gorgeous orange and tan color and delicious spices. While I did taste some pumpkin, it was mostly in the background. But those warm, delectable pumpkin pie spices were right up front. Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, they're all there. It was still refreshing and crisp, too. And even though it is heavily spiced, it is fantastically well balanced. I can't think of a better fall beer.

Grade: A+

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bluegrass Bourbon Barrel Stout Review

After trying, and loving, a couple of bourbon barrel styles, I am now picking up all I can find. This is Bluegrass Brewing's Bourbon Barrel Stout. The appearance certainly is what you would expect from a stout. It's black, thick, and smooth with a huge, creamy tan head. It was excessively carbonated and took a couple of pours to get it in the glass. The color had me instantly wondering something that unfortunately was true of this beer. Because of the stout characteristics including the roasted, smokey, nutty flavors, the bourbon was really hard to pick up. There were some late woody and vanilla notes, but the bourbon was not as prominent as I would have liked. I liked this beer, but I would not go for it if I was in the mood for a bourbon ale. It's kinda like a Porsche Boxter. I mean, yeah, it's a Porsche, but you should probably go for the 997.

Grade: B

Friday, October 29, 2010

Lilja's Sasquatch Stout

I'm a sucker for a cool name and a cool label. Lilja's Sasquatch Stout has both! Thankfully, it tastes as good as it looks! It has all the characteristics I want in a stout. A dark color, great head, strong roasted flavor with a bitter, dry finish. This one also has a taste of currants and rye bread. Very complex, very interesting, and very delicious. Reminds me both of a milk stout and an imperial stout. I'm a bit confused as to who makes it, though. The label will lead you to Pangaea Beers, but beeradvocate.com has it under Sand Creek Brewing. However, Sand Creek's website doesn't have Sasquatch listed. I don't care who makes, it's wonderful!

Grade: A

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Great Lakes Brewing Company Nosferatu Review

Seeing as how this beer is called Nosferatu, I expected it to be one of two colors. Dark as night, or blood red. It was neither, rather it was amber. Despite the color being not what I expected, this beer certainly has "bite". They call it an Imperial Red Ale, but it tastes and feels much more like an IPA to me. It has all the familiar characteristics like the dry finish, the huge hoppy, almost piney flavor. It's quite good. And, like every Great Lakes beer, the label is awesome. The vampire really does remind me of Max Schreck.

Grade: B

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Magic Hat #9

Magic Hat calls #9 a "not quite pale ale". Based on that, I was expecting something similar to Bass. I was quite wrong! Even though it's an ale, the color and taste were light and crisp like a lager with a lot of citrus flavor. It tasted like a peach/apricot iced tea, with less tea flavor. There were some light hop flavors, too. I liked it, but it wasn't what I expected. I would liken it to Sprite or Stairway to Heaven. When I'm in the mood for it, nothing else will satisfy, but I've gotta be in the mood. I would certainly have it again, but it's not something I would buy regularly.

Grade: B

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Founders Breakfast Stout

Wow wow wow. This might be my new favorite beer, Founders Breakfast Stout. Pours black and thick. The second I opened it, I was bombarded by the smell of coffee. And not that cheap, free stuff at work. Real strong, bitter, delicious coffee. That's exactly what it tasted like, with a finish of bittersweet chocolate and toasted oatmeal. It's thick, creamy, and quite bitter. It reads more like a coffee with alcohol than it does a beer, but that's fine by me. By the way, why aren't there more coffee-with-alcohol drinks? And at 8.3% ABV, a few of these will put you where you want to be!

If you don't like coffee, don't even try it. Please save it for someone who will truly appreciate it. Delicious.

Grade: A+

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Brooklyn Oktoberfest

Like I said, I am going through lots of Oktoberfest/Marzen styles now. Here's one from Brooklyn Brewing. It has a nice copper color and tastes of caramel, and maple, but it's not sweet like maple syrup. Compared to the Beck's, this is more complex, more roasted, more interesting, and has more overall flavor. They both have a similar finish. Good, but not great. I'd have it before the Beck's, but not before Great Lakes or Sam Adams (both reviews on the way).

Their website is pretty cool. Especially the recipe section which gives food pairings to their beers.

Grade: C

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Wychwood Brewery Hobgoblin

I really wanted to like this beer. I really, really did. It's from Wychwood Brewery. A dark English ale with a cool name and cool label. It started out promisingly, pouring a deep ruby color with a nice head. Unfortunately, with the first sip, all I could taste was soap. Yes, soap. I figured I would let it sit and bring the temp up a bit, and it did reveal some more complex flavors like oak and mahogany, but the astringent soapiness was too much. I'm hoping I just got a bad bottle. I would try other beers from there, but I'm not sure I will be revisiting Hobgoblin. Too bad.

Grade: D

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hofbrau Oktoberfest

Continuing with my Oktoberfest theme, I went with the real deal. Hofbrau Oktoberfest. This has been served since the original wedding party that then became Oktoberfest. According to them, what they bottle is the same stuff served at their tent at Oktoberfest. It pours a surprisingly light straw color compared to the ambers and coppers of most Oktoberfests and marzens. That said, it has a very good flavor. It's not at all watery. There are hints of grass, hops, and some fruit. It's light, crisp, and has a late, mildly bitter finish. I can see why Oktoberfest is so popular!

Grade: B

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Founders Dirty Bastard

This beer is a Scotch style ale, it is called Dirty Bastard, and it has a tartan on the label. Impossible for me to pass it up, and I was not disappointed! It pours a light brown color, almost like the darkest iced tea you've ever had. The flavor is very complex with a ton of different malt flavors going on. There is roastedness, piney, hoppy, a little bit of not very sweet maple, even a hint of scotch. It's very bold and has a long bitter, but not acrid, finish. I like this a whole bunch and will be looking for more! I feel like about 6 of these would, in fact, make me a Dirty Bastard.

Grade : A

My Scale

I figured since I'm rating beers I should give the rubric on my grades

A: Absolutely love it. Will buy it again and again and again
B: Enjoyed it very much. Would buy again
C: Thought it was fine. Not upset I got it, but probably wouldn't get it again
D: Could finish it, but would not buy again. I'd drink it if it was free, though!
F: Had to pour it down the drain

Abita Amber

From the bayou in Louisiana comes Abita Amber. This is the company's first and most popular beer. It has a light copper color, a little bit of a caramel feel and some citrus notes. It is a lot lighter in color, doesn't feel as heavy, and has a less bold flavor than something like Great Lakes' Eliot Ness or Flying Dog's Old Scratch. Think more like Yuengling. It's very good, just don't expect something heavy and aggressive. I liked it quite a bit and would get it again!

Grade : B

Monday, September 20, 2010

Smuttynose Robust Porter

Porter is my favorite style of beer, so I'm always looking to try a new one. Smuttynose's Robust Porter is a very good example of what a porter should be. Very dark with a full deep tan head. It has bite, bitterness, and a late dry piney finish. This lingers quite a bit, too. The classic characteristics of a porter are here with the roasted malt, coffee and chocolate flavors. I wouldn't say there is anything special or atypical about this compared to other porters, but it's very good. And I happen to love porters.

Grade :B

Beck's Oktoberfest

Since it's fall, I think it's time to try some Oktoberfests. I'm starting with Beck's Oktoberfest. Which, by the way, is owned by InBev/Anheuser Busch. This had great head, an inviting deep copper color. As I was trying to figure out the flavors in this, before I knew it, it was gone! It's very smooth, crisp, and clean. There is a subtle caramel flavor to it and a little bit of hoppy bitterness, but nothing really stood out. It didn't have anything really aggressive nor did it have a lot of character. Seemingly everything about it was average in taste and body. There are certainly Oktoberfest styles out there that are bolder and have move flavor. However, it would be easy to polish off quite a few of these!

Grade: C

Monday, September 13, 2010

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

I first had this beer one delightful summer afternoon on the patio at The Wine Merchant in Findlay. The aroma had me hooked before I even took a sip. As much as I love beer, I also really enjoy bourbon. All the familiar characteristics of a good bourbon hit me immediately. That oakey and vanilla scent, the copper color. It drinks like the smoothest bourbon you've ever had with that unctuous buttery feel going down. And a hint of residual warmth. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is delicious, smooth, and has an aggressive, tricky 8% ABV. If you're wondering where all the bourbon characteristics come from, this ale is aged in barrels that were previously used for bourbon. Brilliant!

While there are beer traits with the color, lacing, and carbonation, the flavor is much closer to bourbon than to any beer I have had.

If you like bourbon, you'll like this. If you don't, then save it for someone who does!

Grade: A


I quit this for a while since the place with the best beer selection in town shut down. But with some new places including Ray's picking up some of the slack, Vino Bellissimo now carrying some beer (which you can buy by the bottle), and a few trips up to The Wine Merchant in Findlay, I feel it's time to get it going again.

I have also started homebrewing. So far I've made a Porter, American style Bock, British PA (not an IPA), and I currently have a Honey Cream Ale fermenting. The Homebrewery has fantastic products and everything you need to get started. It really isn't that difficult, however there is a lot that can go wrong. They have pre-made kits where if you can follow a recipe, you can make the beer. They also have everything you need to come up with your own recipe. I have been very impressed!

Now, onto the beer!