Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sierra Nevada's Harvest Ale

Beer: Sierra Nevada's 2007 Harvest Fresh Hop Ale
Brewery Location: Chico, CA
Beer Style: American Pale Ale
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 6.7%

I was in Party Pak the other day and picked up a bottle of this years Harvest Ale. This is my first experience with the Harvest Ale, but I like Sierra Nevada and I've heard great things about this, so it was an easy choice. According to the bottle this is the 11th year for this special brew, and they used 8,000 lbs of hops in one day brewing this. I don't really care about them talking about that, because the proof is in the pudding (or in this case the beer).

This beer poured a nice amber/copper hue with a thick dense tan head that was a full three fingers worth. The head had good retention and left a decent amount of lacing on my imperial pint glass. With a name like Harvest Ale you would expect the scent of hops and this beer delivers. This is one of the best smelling APA's I've ever smelled. Strong scents of grapefruit and pine with slight grassy overtones. The scent is very pleasant and never leaves throughout the entire beer. The taste is just like the nose. Flavors classic of an easy drinking IPA with a good malty backbone that balances out the hops very well and doesn't let them overpower the beer. It is a well balanced beer that finished very smooth with very little bittering. Very nice considering the amount of hops that went into this beer. The mouthfeel is very smooth and slightly sticky. It coats the mouth very well and overall is very quaff able. Drinkability also holds very high for this beer. It's fresh, tasty, and it leaves you wanting another one.

This is just a very well made beer. It's crisp and refreshing. It provides so much more flavor than most APA's, but is better made than most IPA's. This is really a very nice beer and should enjoyed if you can find some. Party Pak had plenty when I was there. I just wish this beer would be available all year long, because I would find myself drinking it quite often, and this would probably be my go-to-beer (Sorry Two Hearted). This would be a perfect gateway beer for people that are looking to move on from BMC.

4.4 out of 5

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The London Brew-Nami of 1814

I read this on mentalfloss. I would have loved to have seen pictures from this. It's still really hard for me to imagine this story happening.

The Industrial Revolution wasn't all steam engines and textile mills. Beer production increased exponentially, as well. Fortunately, the good people of England were up to the challenge and drained kegs as fast as they were made. Brewery owners became known as "beer barons," and they spent their newfound wealth in an age-old manner -- by trying to party more than the next guy.

Case in point: In 1814, Meux's Horse Shoe Brewery in London constructed a brewing vat that was 22 feet tall and 60 feet in diameter, with an interior big enough to seat 200 for dinner -- which is exactly how its completion was celebrated. (Why 200? Because a rival had built a vat that seated 100, of course.)

After the dinner, the vat was filled to its 4,000-barrel capacity. Pretty impressive, given the grand scale of the project, but pretty unfortunate given that they overlooked a faulty supporting hoop. Yup, the vat ruptured, causing other vats to break, and the resulting commotion was heard up to 5 miles away.

A wall of 1.3 million gallons of dark beer washed down the street, caving in two buildings and killing nine people by means of "drowning, injury, poisoning by the porter fumes, or drunkenness."

The story gets even more unbelievable, though. Rescue attempts were blocked and delayed by the thousands who flocked to the area to drink directly off the road. And when survivors were finally brought to the hospital, the other patients became convinced from the smell that the hospital was serving beer to every ward except theirs. A riot broke out, and even more people were left injured.

Sadly, this incident was not deemed tragic enough at the time to merit an annual memorial service and/or reenactment.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Great Divide: Old Ruffian

Beer: Great Divide Old Ruffian
Brewery Location: Denver, CO
Beer Style: American Barley Wine
Serving Style: Bomber
ABV: 10.2%

Holy palate-smacking deliciousness! I haven't had this beer in so long it's a crime for me to have forgotten how amazing a beer that Great Divide has come up with. As most of you know I am a big hop head, and if you are a hop head then barleywines are something you should give a try. Barleywines in my experience take on something that DIPA's just can't. A DIPA can tend to be a hop bomb that isn't well balanced, not well made, and full of brewers mistakes, but the hop bomb will cover up those mistakes. A barleywine on the other hand is something so much more. Smooth, bitter, complex, balanced, lively, and just has so much more character most of the time vs. a DIPA. I still like DIPA's more though when they are done right.

When sampling this beer get your palate ready. There is just so much going on with this beer at every single drink. The smell hits you before you can get it close to your face, the sweet intense front flavors followed by a huge bold finish and an amazing aftertaste that leaves you wanting more.

It pours a beautiful deep mahogany. When held up to the light colors of rust and crimson show themselves. A non-aggressive pour reveals a huge tan head that lasted throughout the entire beer with very big rings of lace all over the glass.

The nose on this beer is an achievement. Floral hops, oily hops, and then some more hops hits your nose with a deep aroma of toasted malt and caramel. The nose on this beer is by far the best of any beer I have yet reviewed.

The taste on this beer is exactly what I want from a beer. Huge flavors of bready malt hit your palate followed by an amazing caramel and candied fruit sweetness just before a hop wallop takes command of your taste buds. No part of your mouth is left without tastes of pine, grapefruit, malty backbone, and warming alcohol. In terms of balance on the big beers that I love so much there isn't much better than this. Each drink becomes better than the last drink. The beer provides the perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness, but challenges the palate every single step of the way. Even at 10.2% the drinkability is so high on this beer. I finished my bomber and wanted another one. No flavor is so dominant that you won't want to come back for more. The warming alcohol was subtle and will be very nice during the winter as the temperature keeps falling.

Overall this beer is simply amazing. I don't normally gush over a beer, but this beer is really something. It's a very reasonable price for a barleywine and delivers the flavor better than the more expensive barleywines. I really can't say enough about how amazing this beer is all around for the senses. I will say again though be ready for the beer when you try it. I still can't give out a 5 out of 5. I just can't do it, but this is pretty damn close to it.

4.9 out of 5.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Brugge Brasserie's Lupulin L'Amore

Beer: Brugge Brasserie's Lupulin L'Amore
Brewery Location: Indianapolis, IN
Beer Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale/Blonde Ale
Serving Style: On Tap
ABV: 8.5%

The Brugge had five beers on tap when I was there and I have never heard of Lupulin L'Amore before. I asked the server about it and he said it was a blonde ale that was hopped like and IPA, so I said that was the beer for me.

It was presented in a Chalice with a solid sheet of white head and a floral bouquet that I picked up on when the beer passed by my nose as the waiter set it down. It pours a beautiful hazy-golden straw color that looks very inviting and ready to drink. The floral bouquet is a real winner on this beer. Scents of citrus and pine with bready malt overtones and a deep aroma of cloves and a touch of banana. The taste on this matches the scent perfectly. Wonderful hoppy bite on the front of the palate with hints of apple and fruity esters make their appearance as well. Medium carbination on this beer, but it still paired very well with my red meat dish I had for lunch. It is very satisfying on the palate. Mouthfeel is excellent and coats the tongue well and the alcohol is very well hidden.

I am not sure what style of beer this is though. The waiter called it a Blonde ale/Strong ale, but I really think it tastes and has the characteristics of a Belgian IPA. Clearly you can taste some strong amarillo hops in this beer, and it really reminded me of La Chouffe's Houblon IPA. I guess it still is a blonde though that is hopped like an IPA. If you anyone else knows different please let me know.

I really enjoyed this beer, and I hope they keep producing this beer, and maybe even eventually start selling the beer.

4.25 out of 5.

Update: Jim Matt the creator of this beer has been kind enough to give me a nice update on where this beer began and what style it actually is. He says the beer is actually a "hoppy triple." I can see that now that it's been pointed out to me. The Brugge made this beer from Jim's home brewing recipe and entered it into the Pro-AM at the Great American Beer Fest. Thanks for the info Jim.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Brugge Brasserie

Location: Brugge Brasserie
Broad Ripple Village

I have been wanting the Brugge for a while now, but just haven't made it out, and we didn't have much going on today, and so the wife I am took off for Broad Ripple. This place is a real gem for the city, and it's great for foodies and beer geeks alike. The Brugge is set back off of Westfield Blvd. If you were not looking for it you may not even know it is there. There is an internet cafe on top of it that really seems out of place.

It's got a nice "artsy" feel inside the pub that is cozy and well maintained. The tables all have holes in them for your frites, and you should have the frites (with the curry gravy is my favorite). The menu is all Belgian as you would expect. Mussels, crepes, stews, salads...etc. They don't have many beers on tap, but that should be no deterrent. I actually respect a place for producing a smaller line of beer that they knock out of the park instead of 12 average beers.

Our waiter was very attentive and answered my beer questions with great confidence and really showed a nice knowledge of their beers.

Our food was excellent and the beer I will be reviewing was also a great compliment to the meal. Everything is paired nicely, and you can tell much thought went into the menu for this pub. The pub seems to me to have been designed with the owner in mind. I mean that it seems like there isn't variation in the Belgian theme, and I really like that. The owner made this place for himself, and if you don't like it, well then the 10 people behind you waiting for a table will enjoy it. I will be back as often as possible.

Other great news about the Brugge is that they will selling five of their offerings very soon in the Indianapolis and surrounding area. They bought the Terre Haute Brew works and are busy getting things ready to bottle for both commercial sales in bars and restaurants as well as in liquor stores.

4.3 out of 5.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

How I got started with Craft Beer

I just started writing this blog because I was bored, and I wanted people to really get a great example of the beer using all the senses. My format obviously isn't new or unique, but it's a good format and I hope people find it easy to understand, and it shares my passion for beer.

I figured a few of my friends and family would see this one time and no one else would ever read it, but the power of the internet is very strange. I got a message from Seattle from someone that reads my blog and asked how I got into craft beer, and how I trained my palate. That is awesome other people are reading this and getting more people interested in good beer. Thank you for the message and I will tell you how I got into it.

I was just about 20 (Disclaimer: I am not advocating underage drinking) when I got a job at the local Sears and worked with a guy who was a beer nut. I had been drinking cheap keg beer and the cheapest case from the liquor store at this point. I wonder if people look at me the way I looked at him when I first met him? He was crazy about beer. He talked about it, attended beer tasting events, bought all kinds of crazy beers I had never heard of, and took special trips to breweries on the weekends just to taste their beer. I remember thinking "Man, this guy is crazy. It's just beer." Lucky for me, I told him just that and he invited me over all the time to try new beers. He showed me how to taste a beer, what I was looking for in the beer, how the brewing process worked, and he began to help me to begin thinking in quality over quantity. Literally after three months of beer tasting with him I couldn't drink the big 3 any more. It was strange. Bug light had never tasted like water with a metallic twinge before, but now I no longer liked the flavor it at all. At this point I still wasn't sure about craft beer though. I was drinking Euro-Lagers, Guinness, and LaBatt's when I wasn't trying something with him. I wasn't 21 yet, so I asked for stuff I had heard of. Hardly much of a beer geek there huh? At the time I just thought big 3 were crap, but I was still drinking flavorless macro lagers (except for Guinness). Same sheep, but now it's an "import." Yes, I was that guy. I had no idea what a Baltic Porter or barleywine was, so I drank what I knew. I think that is much of the problem for most people. They drink what they know, and because of TV the big 3 is about all they know.

I was lucky enough to be able to go to London on spring break my junior year of college. I still wasn't 21 yet, but I was only a month away. I went with one of my best friends and met another friend in London. This is where my beer adventure really started. My goal was to never drink the same beer twice while I was there. We dropped our luggage off and were at the pub instantly. My first beer was a beer that was all around me back home, but I had never seen it since I wasn't 21. Young's Double Chocolate Stout. I was in love instantly, and it only gave me more reason to try every beer I could get a hold of. I was there for 10 days and had so many great English beers. J.W. Lees, Samuel Smiths, Fullers, Tetleys, Boddingtons, Morland Brewing. Those are what I can remember. It was amazing. When I drank I was looking for flavor and trying to decide what it was I tasted.

When I got back home I turned 21 the month after and started heading to the local liquor store. This is really how I would suggest getting into craft beer. Find a local liquor store using either or that will allow you break up sixer and build your own. I would always build my own sixer and try them each over the course a week to two weeks. I would try everything I could get a hold of. I really think this is the single most important thing is trying as much variety as possible. I am not saying binge drink here, but one or two beers in a sitting is what craft beer and respect for beer is all about. If you want to drink to get drunk this really isn't for you.

At this point I am really into other countries beers and not so much American craft beers. I had heard the term plenty, but I wasn't really seeking those out like my friend from Sears had. I was drinking some amazing beers from Belgium, Germany, and the UK, but not really much on the home front. I credit my best friend Kevin with getting me into good craft beer. I went to visit him at Purdue after I had graduated and he was still in school for another semester. We drank about four offerings from Bell's and I was really wowed by them and even more impressed they were only about three hours away and not across the ocean. I also credit Kevin with getting me into IPAs. I don't think I can ever return that favor. When I got back home I went to the local beer mecca, Party Pak. I just started making mixed six packs from local and regional craft brewers. If I haven't tried it before I pick it up. Life is good at this point.

My latest adventure in beer is thanks to my friend Joe. He introduced me to Three Floyd's right here in Indiana. Joe re-invigorated my passion for good beer, and helped me look even more local for beer to try. I bet you that there are several amazing places in your town producing award winning craft beer that you never even knew existed. I am still ever expanding and looking for something new.

Wow, that was a pointless ramble. My answer to your question is this: Try as much variety at this point as you can. Use the websites I posted to find a place local that will allow you to purchase by the bottle. Either in 12oz bottles or 22oz bomber sized bottles. As far as training your palate I would suggest just writing down what you taste while you are drinking the beer. You will pick up on things the more you try. When I started trying to pick out things I would go to the brewers website and see if I could find the recipe for the beer. In doing that I got to see what went into the beer for a good review and certain things will start to come out to you. Yeast strains, types of hops, roasted malts etc... Here is exactlty how I review a beer. I just took a great way to review it, and use it. I have a great deal of respect for the Alstrom Brothers from BeerAdvocate. You are the only person that knows what you like, so drink what you like, but still try other things. At one point your favorite beer was a beer you had never tasted before, and I always hope my next new beer might be just that. My new favorite beer.

I hope that answers your question a little bit better.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Boulder Beer's Cold Hop

Beer: Boulder Beer's Cold Hop
Brewery Location: Boulder, CO
Beer Style: English IPA
Serving Style: Bomber
ABV: 6.5%

I have been trying to drink this for a while now. I helped my best friend move from his apartment about a month ago, and he was kind enough to know what I will work for: GOOD BEER! That's pretty much an open invitation to everyone out there. You need some muscle to help you move I will work for beer.

I've only had one other beer from Boulder Beer and that's the Mojo IPA. That is a really nice beer from them if you like IPA's. According to the bottle this beer: "We've expanded on Charlie Papazian's.....favorite recipes, gave it out own twist, and we're over the moon with the result."
(My non-beer geek friends Charlie Papazian wrote the bible for home brewers. It is called The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, and if you want to brew your own beer it is a must to own.)

I was very excited to give this a whirl. I really do love English beers deep down, but since I've become a serious hophead most just don't live up to what I am after. I would soon find out this is exactly what I have been searching for.

This pours a clear orange/amber hue with a big active off-white head that collapsed very quickly and left a good sheet of lacing until the end of the beer. I poured with a non-aggressive pour and it was a solid three fingers of head. Decent lacing along the glass as well. The smell is a very vibrant floral nose of citrus, grapefruit, pine, and sweet oranges and a slight touch of bready malt. This reminds of me a well balanced American IPA at this point. The taste follows the nose very nicely. Sweet toffee is the first flavor to me before a nice hop bitterness floods my taste buds. I get a nice shot of bready malt aftertaste on the back of my palate. This is so very well balanced with the malt and hop flavoring sharing their roles as it should be. This beer provides the hop bite I am looking for in a well made and well balanced beer. The mouthfeel is very crisp and clean with a medium finish and overall very satisfying. The drinkability is extremely high for me. It's a little high on alcohol content, but I would make a session out of this.

Fantastic effort from Boulder Beer on this. It's on a limited availability. I did a search for it, but I couldn't find out how often they actually brew this beer. It's on a "rotating release" according to the sites I checked. I can't even find this beer on Boulder's website. This beer delivered exactly what I wanted. I got a great hop bite, but still tasted the other flavors that should be in a well built beer. I will gladly return to this beer when given the chance.

4.25 out of 5.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Wychwood's Hobgoblin

Beer: Wychwood's Hobgoblin
Brewery Location: Oxfordshire, England
Beer Style: English Brown Ale
Serving Style: on-tap
ABV: 5.2%

I am a little late getting this out. I usually like to do it right away, but it's been a very busy few days for me. Thursday I found myself out with the good people from The Hoosier Beer Geek at one of their meetings for a tasting. You should check out their website and come to a meeting when they have one. They are all very inviting and friendly, and it is always good to get out and talk about beer and experience one of the best things about good beer, and thats the social aspect that good beer and good people can create.

We met at the Chatham Tap on Mass Ave. It was fairly busy in the bar, but we had a big front table all to ourselves. I was bitching about the lack of imperial pint glasses, and then I was told it was because all English drafts on Thursdays are only four bucks. My bitching quickly stopped when I found out I was saving a couple of bucks.

The beer pours a reddish/amber hue with soft affects and had a thin white head. The head dissipated very quick and left very light lacing on the glass. There isn't much to smell on this beer when it is full. I picked up on a slight malty scent and bit of sweetness. As I got about halfway through the beer though the scent at least came to life and I got more sweet/dark fruit scent with a bit of yeasty/fruity esters. The first sip isn't really much to write home about for me. Middle of the road maltiness with slight tastes of dark fruits and also a slight iron/heavy mineral water flavor that got stronger as the beer warmed a bit. The beer is light and actually refreshing because it is so very smooth and coats about the same consistency as tap water. For what this beer is, being an English brown ale, it is not bad, but it just doesn't really deliver the flavor profile I am looking for here.

If you are a fan of English brown ales you will most likely really like this offering, but if you are in the mood for something with a lot of character and more bold this isn't your beer. I also was trying to compare this to another English brown I know well in Samuel Smith's Nut Brown and there is no comparison. They are both made in England with roughly the same ingredients and the Sammy Smith's delivers on the flavor and this is my beer of choice in the category.

3.0 out of 5.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

Beer: Schlafly Pumpkin Ale
Brewery Location: St. Louis, MO
Beer Style: Pumpkin Ale
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 8.0%

This was the first cold day of the year and I've had this pumpkin ale sitting in the fridge calling my name for a while. I haven't seen Schlafly in town until I think two years ago when I found their several of their offerings at Party Pak. I like seasonal releases quite a bit. It's nice to see a brewery trying something new, or you are just looking forward to that particular beer at that time of year. This is my favorite time of year for beer. There are so many great beers coming out in the next few months.

The beer pours a deep copper hue and it very rich looking with soft amber accented sides. The head poured a solid two fingers at first, but by the time I tried to take a picture of it, it was almost gone already. Leaves no head and no lacing on the glass once settled. The beer has a nice sweet nose on it. Pumpkin and cinnamon come out pretty easily as does nutmeg possibly? I can't really put my finger on that, but a weak nutmeg is what I think. The flavor on this from first sip is the best pumpkin ale I've ever had. Many pumpkin ales just slap you in the face with pumpkin spice and the flavor doesn't meld together at all, but this has a nice pumpkin and honey sweetness upfront with the light spices dancing around on your palate as well. Cinnamon and nutmeg are present in every drink, but it is so well balanced with the beer and pumpkin flavor. The alcohol is non-existent in this beer as well. I honestly cannot pick it up in the slightest and this beer is 8% ABV. The mouthfeel is very light and with low carbination and keeps you wanting another drink. Drink-ability is very high and you could easily put a few of these down on a cold day.

This is a great offering from Schlafly. It is so well balanced and the spices are not the most dominant thing like so many pumpkin ales. Well worth a try if you see it for sale. I happened to pick this up at Party Pak and they had plenty.

4.4 out of 5.

Edit: There was a flavor I wasn't 100% on and I cheated and looked at their website and it's butternut squash. I don't know about the brewing process for this, but I think it really toned down the pumpkin so it wasn't overpowering.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Avery Brewing's The Maharaja

Beer: Avery Brewing's The Maharaja
Brewery Location: Boulder, CO
Beer Style: Double/Imperial IPA
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 9.7%

If you read this blog you know I am a hop head. I have been wanting to try this beer for a while, but every time I see it I just haven't bought it for some reason. I have been very satisfied with some of the other Avery offerings that I have been able to try, so I felt pretty good giving this beer a try.

I could actually smell the citrus scent coming from the bottle as I opened it and got ready to pour it. The smell has me very excited about the taste that will hopefully follow. It pours a deep amber/copper hue with what started out to be a very nice covering of frothy head quickly dissipated into a small thin head.

It has a great nose on it. Loads of oily hop scent with big fresh oranges coming through and some great big bready malt tones coming through as well. This is a real winner at this point. The taste at the start of the beer is very well balanced with bready malt and citrus coating my palate. As the beer warmed though certain things were coming to light. The beer is actually very sweet to me, and the warmer it got the more malt come though and wasn't what I was expecting at all from this. Some drinks the malt was the most dominant flavor and then at other times the grapefruit and pine flavor would take center stage. This isn't like other DIPA's that I am a big fan of, but still has very good characteristics. The mouthfeel is the best attribute to this beer. It's smooth and velvety across my palate with a strong finish and very likable aftertaste. The drink ability is good on this even though the alcohol isn't extremely well hidden, but one bomber is more than enough for me.

It's a good representation of the style and well worth a try, but I found it to be overly sweet and to much malt for my liking.

3.9 out of 5.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Three Floyd's GumballHead

Beer: Three Floyd's GumballHead
Brewery Location: Munster, IN
Beer Style: American Pale Wheat Ale
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 4.8%

There has been a lot of FFF's from me lately, but I was going to a cookout yesterday and it was blazing hot, so there is nothing better to me than a good wheat beer, and this offering from FFF's fit the bill perfectly.

I was at Party Pak on Friday and they just got several cases of it in. It isn't always easy to find so I jumped on a sixer of it. I should have just bought it last weekend at the brewery, but I had already spent way to much on bombers.

One of the first things that strikes you is the cardboard carrier for the sixer. Many carries usually have some interesting art on them, but this one is a little different. It's design is based on a cartoon character by the name of Gumball the Cat from Rob Syers. I added some pics of it on the bottom. I also like how FFF's uses the bottom of the carrier. I haven't seen anyone else use it before, but I never really paid attention until now either. The bottle is also adorned with a sinister Gumball the Cat having a smoke and ready to drink some beer.

It pours a hazy golden copper hue with a minimal head on an unaggressive pour. There is some yeast still floating in the beer as well from the bottle conditioning. (Bottle conditioning allows for the beer to naturally carbonate in the bottle as opposed to gas injection like most filtered beers.) The smell is very fresh with a vibrant floral bouquet with amarillo hops scent coming through with a mix of grapefruit and lemony finish with a nice touch of wheat malt. The flavor is very indicative of the nose on this beer. Good zing at the front of the palate and finishes smooth and almost creamy. The hops come through, but this isn't a hop bomb. It's very light and an almost fruity/sticky flavor is left after the drink. The body is wonderful for wheat beer and perfect for a warm day outside.

This really is one of the best wheat beers I've ever had. I have only run across one FFF's beer I didn't like and they really have a winner on their hands with this beer. It's now available year round as well. I can't think of anything I would rather be drinking on warm day outside with friends.

4.75 out of 5.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Sam Adams Octoberfest

Beer: Sam Adams Octoberfest
Brewery Location: Boston, MA
Beer Style: Oktoberfest/Marzen
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 5.7%

Marzenbier (literally March beer) is the style of many Oktoberfest beers. There are some like Muncher Oktoberfestbier that are only available during the real Oktoberfest in Munich. Most other that are not sanctioned for the real event are in the style of Marzen. The man that invented "March Beer" brewed it.....wait for it.......wait for it...... IN MARCH!! This is because in Germany at the time refrigeration had not been invented yet and it was far too hot in the summer months for the brewing process. Brewers would brew large batches in the spring months and people could drink it all summer, but with the invention and popularity of the railroads people were heading to Oktoberfest in Munich and this is the beer style that really took on popularity with the people, and it's been that way just about ever since.

I will be honest that I am a fan of Sam Adams. Not really the beer as much as the company. I really think Sam Adams (The Boston Beer Company) is the most visual brewer in the craft beer movement. They are a big company and sell alot of beer, but I think their influence is incalculable. There would still be an amazing craft beer movement without Sam Adams, but I don't think as many people would be drinkers of craft beer. I know several people that Sam Adams was their gateway beer, and they are apt to try one of the varying styles of their beer just because it's a Sam Adams product and that has helped them move onto other craft brewers of the same style of beer. Much of Sam Adam's beer though is actually brewed in Cincinnati and not in Boston. I am not sure where my Octoberfest was brewed, but I just wanted to throw that in. On to the beer:

It pours a mix of orange, copper, and slight amber hue. It's already great as a fall beer. Has a very light off-white head that dissipated very quickly and left minimal lacing on the glass. The smell isn't very pronounced. It does smell fresh and a bit malty. The taste is a bit sweet upfront with toasted bready malt coming through with a very weak hop taste trying to come though. The finish is also a bit sweet for me. The carbonation is light and makes for high drinkability and the mouthfeel is crisp and a bit sticky at points.

This isn't a bad beer, but it's not a great beer either. I wouldn't make a session out of this, and I don't think I will be ordering it anytime soon either.

2.75 out of 5

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Three Floyd's Dreadnaught India Pale Ale

Beer: Three Floyd's Dreadnaught DIPA
Brewery Location: Munster, IN
Beer Style: Double/Imperial IPA
Serving Style: On-tap
ABV: 9.5%

This was my final beer of the day and I saved the best for last. As I have stated before I am a huge hop head, and I will drink just about any IPA or DIPA I can get my hands on. I have had Dreadnaught many times and it is my favorite beer in the style and maybe my favorite beer overall.

It comes served in a bowtie and pours a golden orange/amber hue. It has a medium dark off white head and left sheets of lacing from the top to the bottom of the glass when I was done with it.

The floral bouquet on this beer is just about the best I have ever smelled before. Heavy pine and grapefruit scent with slight scents of orange citrus and more hop resins. The first taste is all hops. This is so well balanced because the hops are not overpowering or overly bitter but fresh and provide a unique flavor. The malt is a perfect balance to go along with the heavy hop bitterness. Sweet caramel notes also come into play as the beer warms. The mouthfeel is very heavy and coats your entire mouth and throat on the way down. The alcohol is only barely noticeable with as high of an ABV as this has. The drinkability is very high for me. It's bitter, but not so much that I don't want to keep on drinking this. This is my idea of just about a perfect a beer as you can make. This beer is fantastic and I will keep coming back to this again and again.

4.9 out of 5.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Three Floyd's Gorm Noire

Beer: Three Floyd's Gorm Noire
Brewery Location: Munster, IN
Beer Style: Belgian Dark Ale
Serving Style: On-tap
ABV: 5.2%

My second beer of the day was Gorm Noire. This wasn't on the menu last time I was here, so I was quick to give it a try. It is presented in a tulip glass with a dark brown slightly black hue with a small tan head that collapsed on itself very quickly. The first scents are of fruit and Belgian yeast. As it warmed a little bit I got more spices and a slight malt touch. The taste is mostly dark fruit on the front of my palate, but finishes with a light smokey flavor and cherries. The mouthfeel is very smooth, but I think the carbination is actually rather high and gave the beer a creamy texture. The drinkability is good, but I don't think I would have more than one at a time. The alcohol is low, but wouldn't make for a good session beer. This isn't what you would expect from FFF's, but I think it's a good change of pace and am glad to see them offering this.

4.0 out of 5.

Three Floyd's Alpha Khan

Beer: Three Floyd's Alpha Khan
Brewery Location: Munster, IN
Beer Style: American Strong Ale
Serving Style: On-tap
ABV: 7.5%

This was my first beer on my trip to FFF's this weekend. It was presented in an imperial pint glass with two fingers of white head sitting on top of a nice amber hued body. The lacing was very strong on this beer as I got deeper into it. The smell is all hops with heavy scents of pine and a slight spice scent I can't really put my finger on. I like it, but I am not sure what scent it is. The taste is really striking. Caramel malty sweetness upfront followed by a hop bite heavy on the grapefruit and pine flavor. The flavor profile is perfect and very well balanced. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with very light carbonation. This went perfect with my sandwich and it was very thirst quenching. As far as I know you can only get this at the brewpub. That is a real shame for me. This would probably replace my standard in my fridge if it did. I think this beer would be good just about anytime at all.

This is an exceptional beer from FFF's. I just hope they will start bottling it in the very near future.

4.5 out of 5.