Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fort Collins Kidd Black Lager

This is the first I have heard of Fort Collins, but that's exactly why I tried it. The Kidd Black Lager pours very dark brown, but you can see through it when held to light. Smells of some roastiness and coffee. I think the best way to describe this is the flavors of a porter, but with the texture and mouthfeel of a Bud Light. It's lighter and less bitter than a porter, but with very similar flavors. There's some roast, some smoke, subtle coffee and chocolate. I like it, but I feel like something is missing.

Grade: B

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


In the past year, I have had at least ten times more Grolsch than any other beer. By far. Is that because it's amazingly good? Smooth, big flavored, nice ABV, and cheap? No. Not at all. They use the perfect bottles for homebrewing. They're 16 oz and have the flip tops (even though you can't see it in my pic), so I don't need to use a separate capper. While I could by similar bottles empty, I figure if I'm going to buy bottles, I might as well get some beer in it!

Grolsch pours a clear gold color with a thin, quickly dissipating white head. Tastes of grass and straw, with a little bit of a dry hop finish. Some skunkiness, as well. Not a ton of character. Very one note. I'd go for this before a macrobrew, but that's about it.

Let me put it this way. I have had no trouble drinking more than 50 of these in the past year. However, since I now have all the bottles I need, I doubt I'll be getting it again

Grade: C

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lagunitas Censored Copper Ale

This is the first beer I have tried from Lagunitas, the Censored Copper Ale. True to its name, it pours a copper color with a thin white head. Smells of malt, some warm spice, maybe even a hint of vinegar. The vinegar, thankfully, isn't in the taste. Malt and spice, bitter hops, a hint of orange, some sweet grain, then bitter hops again. A lot going on in just one taste!

The more I'm having of this, the more I like it. It's complex, yet balanced. Full and aggressive, but not overpowering.

If you're wondering about the censored, it's actually called Kronik. Apparently that isn't OK, but hemp beers are.

I'd do this again

Grade: B

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thirsty Dog Twisted Kilt Scotch Ale

Thirsty Dog is a brewery in the not-too-far-away Akron. Still kind of small, but big enough to distribute a bit. Hadn't been able to find anything of theirs around here in a while, but I did come across their Twisted Kilt.

Twisted Kilt had a lot of promise. I do really enjoy everything I've had from them, and Scotch Ales are rising on my list of favorite styles. The color was like iced tea, maybe a bit more orange. Some moderate malty flavors with some light hop bitterness and some fruit notes. There's an unexpected sour finish, but once I knew to expect it, I liked it.

Overall, I thought it was alright. I might get it again, but there are other Scotch Ales I much prefer

Grade: C

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shiner Smokehaus

The first thing that surprised me about Shiner Smokehaus was the color. Every smoked beer I've had before this was dark brown or black, but this is as light as crisp as any macrobrew. Perhaps a shade more orange than yellow. But the smoke aroma is certainly there. The taste is pretty good, too. Starts out sweet, a little bit of hops, then that mesquite smokey flavor. Almost like liquid BBQ chips. This isn't one I'd go for often, but at just under 5% ABV, the crisp texture, and easy drinkability, it's perfect for a day of grilling!

Unfortunately, I found the website to be way to busy and complex. Couldn't even find this listed anywhere. Though, I did pour myself a virtual Shiner Bock.

Grade: B

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bell's Hopslam

I have a confession. I don't consider myself a "hop head". I mean, I do love craft beer. And I do like IPAs, but I kinda have to be in the mood for them. That said, with all the buzz around Bell's Hopslam, there was no way I couldn't try this beer.

Bell's Hopslam has a huge, white head, but the color was paler than I had expected. The hop aromas hit me as soon as I opened the bottle. The aroma is chock full of the familiar hoppy flavors of grapefruit and pine. The flavor is very interesting. The hops are definitely there, and huge, but the addition to honey adds a sweet finish. It's dry, the hops linger longer than the honey, and you won't find better lacing.

Bell's Hopslam does have a ton of hops, but I wouldn't say it's as overpowering as I expected. Despite the 10% ABV, that isn't overpowering, either. Considering how much is going on, it's amazingly well balanced.

I get the hype. This is awesome!

Grade: A+

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Rogue Mocha Porter

Rogue's Mocha Porter certainly has a lot of promise. I love porters, I love mocha, and while my experience with Rogue is limited, I have really enjoyed everything so far.

I feel like the name is a little misleading, though. I think it would be better classified as a mocha stout. It has more of the roasted and bitter flavors that I associate with a stout rather than a porter. And while the mocha flavors and creamy texture are there, it's all in the finish.

Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying this, but I don't feel like it lives up to the title. Honestly, I would like it a lot more if it had a different name that didn't mention mocha or porter.

Grade : B

P.S. I do appreciate the irony of drinking a beer like this from a Budweiser glass

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Left Hand Fade to Black

This is a beer I have been looking forward to for a while. Left Hand's Fade to Black. I have been impressed with everything from Left Hand, especially their Black Jack Porter and Milk Stout. Hopefully I will get to try Wake Up Dead soon.

They describe Fade to Black as a smoked Baltic porter. Pours black with a thin, dark tan head. The smoke is definitely there, along with some meat notes. This really does taste a bit like bacon, but with more smoke. The mouthfeel is somewhere between heavy medium and light heavy. It certainly has some body, but it's not really heavy. There's a bit of malt sweetness in the finish as this is more malty than hoppy.

This style is right up my alley, and it's exceptionally well done. A pretty interesting story on the history of the beer on their website, too

Grade: A

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rogue Buckwheat Ale

A lot on complex things going on here with Rogue's Buckwheat Ale. First, it's not on their website. However, it appears to be the same at Morimoto Soba Ale. Yes, Iron Chef fans, that Morimoto. The bottle for me was interesting, too, as it's in Japanese. I couldn't find the translation anywhere.

Onto the beer. It pours a hazy orange with flecks of buckwheat floating in it. It's extremely light without being watery. Tastes of buckwheat, and a little bit of citrus sweetness. I don't get much hops, but there is almost a chemical taste to it. Kind of like a club soda. It's very interesting, but I wouldn't call it a favorite. However, I would certainly reach for this the next time I cook with soba noodles.

Grade: B

Monday, January 17, 2011

Yuengling Lager Review

Before I get to the taste and such of Yuengling, perhaps I should tell a story. When I was in college, one of my roommates from was from Pennsylvania. He would always bring Yuengling back with him whenever he went home. And since we couldn't buy it where we were in Ohio, it became like a rare delicacy for me and my roommates. Of course, that was the only reason we ever wanted him to go home for a weekend*.

Now, if you compared Yuengling in a blind taste test to other amber lagers, it might not hold up and win huge awards. It's light amber, there is some hop bittnerness and a little bit of sweetness to it. But it's light, it's crisp, it has good taste if not a ton of it, and it's supremely drinkable. If I were rating this blindly, it's probably a low B. But because of the memories I associate with it and that it's still special and rare to me, it's an A in my book. Or blog, as it were.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Happy New Year! Of course, I do realize it's been a long time since I've posted. But fighting two bouts of bronchitis in a month, numerous holiday get togethers, and work, I haven't had much time.

Even though the season has past, I want to write about Great Lakes Christmas Ale. Here in Ohio, and especially in Cleveland, Christmas Ale is a seasonal delicacy. It's something people stock up on the moment they see it because they know it won't last. I posted an article recently that even showed in November, Christmas Ale outsold a 24 pack of Bud Light by more than 3 times!

This is the beer that first turned me on to holiday spiced ales, which is what my current batch of home brew is. It's elusive, you've got to pick it up when you see it because it likely won't be back. Even in a craft-beer-fearing-town such as this. Of course, it is with good reason. It smells of honey and spice and pours a deep orange, almost copper. It tastes of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, with a subtle honey finish. And at 7.5% ABV, it's holiday cheer in a bottle! Without a doubt, one of my favorite beers and I can't wait until next holiday season for it.

And thanks to my friend Liz for both the last 6 pack of the season and the gorgeous glass!

Grade: A+