Sunday, December 30, 2007

Stone IPA

Beer: Stone Brewing IPA
Brewery Location: Escondido, CA
Beer Style: IPA
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 6.9%

I've written about some of Stone's beer before, but this is the beer that started my love for Stone Brewing. IPA's are my favorite style of beer, and this is one of the best ones out there. This is one of my top three go-to beers and usually have some on hand in the house. Stone has some of the best bottle labeling out there. I am still curious what the cost of silk screening their bottles add to the price. The beer is very reasonably priced between 3.99 and 4.99 depending on where you are shopping.

Pours a light golden hue with a huge two fingered head that leaves sheets of lacing on my pint glass. The aroma is classic of a great IPA. A fantastic floral bouquet filled with scents of citrus fruit, sweet malt, and a second dose of grapefruit scent just to make sure you know the hops are in your face. It smells like I have fistfuls of hops cones. The taste is what a great IPA should taste like with the citrus, floral, sweet malt, and bold hop character playing off each other like the Harlem Globetrotters. The flavor profile just melts together on your palate and makes for a nice drinking experience. This beer is medium bodied with medium carbination. Alcohol is very well hidden and I didn't really ever notice it. This beer is highly drinkable and should be on the list to try for all hop lovers.

Overall this is an outstanding beer for the style, and just overall an amazing beer. Some say the hops are overdone, but if you are a hophead this is really nice for when you don't want a DIPA. This pairs quite well with a good burger, whereas DIPA's usually don't. Give this beer a chance if you see it out. I've found the best price on this at the Sunflower Market in the Broadripple village, and there is always plenty of it. Do the organic foodies not know how great this beer is or something?


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Deschutes Black Butte Porter

Beer: Deschutes Black Butte Porter
Brewery Location: Bend, OR
Beer Style: Porter
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 5.5%

This is another beer that I traded for. Deschutes is making some incredible beer, and is considered a top regional brewer in the country. They even have several beers that beer snobs and geeks alike would love to get their hands on. One in particular called "The Abyss" is only released once a year and is considered one of the very best beers in the world according to Ratebeer and BeerAdvocate.

The porter style is something I've only come around to in the last year or so, and particularly this winter I've been getting more into good porters. The porter is falling out of favor in the UK, but American brewers have taken off with the style. Porters are a close cousin of stouts, but stouts will have a much more pronounced roasted barley character and that is one of the main style differences.

Pours a dark mahogany and slight ruby accents with with a bubbly two finger tan head that left moderate lacing on the walls of my glass. Good toasted malt and roasted grain dominate the nose. The taste matches the nose quite well. Very strong on the roasted malt and hop flavor with coffee and bitter chocolate making their way onto the back of your palate. It has a very dry finish that is slightly sweet at the end. The mouthfeel is the winner on this beer for me. Silky smooth texture that borders almost creamy. This is a great drinking porter that is just overall a great beer.

I really enjoyed this beer. This isn't a big porter, but that isn't always what is called for. The body on this beer is still my favorite aspect of it. Overall just a great example of the style. Not tops in the category, but a great example none-the-less.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Alaskan Winter Ale

Beer: Alaskan Winter Ale
Brewery Location: Juneau, AK
Beer Style: Winter Warmer
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 6.4%

I've heard about the great things that have been coming out of Alaskan Brewing for a few years. They have such a small distribution area though I thought I would never really be able to try them unless I went to Alaska, but a kind soul traded with me for some Three Floyd's. I just reviewed a winter warmer a few weeks ago from Samuel Smiths, and I hope this will peak my interest a little more in the category.

The bottle states that this beer was brewed with spruce tips. I do believe this is my first beer with brewed with spruce tips.

Pours a bright amber hue with minimal head and slightly above average lacing on my glass. Tons of tiny bubbles heading to the surface in this brew. I am not really sure if I am smelling hops or the spruce needles. It's isn't quite strong enough for hops, but it's a pleasant citrus scent with some biscuty malt coming to my nose. This beer is actually quite sweet. The malty sweetness overpowers the bitterness coming from the finishing hops. Flavors of citrus and sweet caramel meld fairly well in this beer just leaning towards sweeter than balanced. The mouthfeel is medium carbination, slightly watery, and medium bodied. The alcohol is also fairly well masked in the beer and doesn't really make an appearance. This is a nice winter warmer. Easy to drink and I would purchase this again if I had the chance.

Overall I think this is a pretty solid offering. There is a slight flavor in the beer that I can't wrap my palate around, and I think it must be the spruce tips. This beer does give me hope for the winter warmer category though. I will give the style some more attention.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Bells Two Hearted Ale

Beer: Bell's Two-Hearted Ale
Brewery Location: Comstock, MI
Beer Style: American IPA
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 7.0%

This is the beer that really got me into beer. I can still remember my very first two-hearted with my best friend Kevin. Earnest Hemingway wrote "Big Two Hearted River" and this beer carries that on by stating on the bottle: India Pale Ale style well suited for Hemingway-esque trips to the Upper Peninsula. It may sound corny, but I would like to drink a two-hearted in the Two-Hearted River in the UP.

Pours a beautiful amber/orange hue with a good sized pearl white head. The head collapses fairly quickly, but this beer leaves some of the best lacing on the sides of the pint glass that I've seen. The nose makes itself known while pouring the beer into the pint glass. Heavy scents of pine, ripe grapefruit, and orange rind. The floral nose is well done and matches perfectly with the taste. The flavor profile is the winner for me here. Starts out with bitter hops but the delicate pale malt comes into play to round out the bitterness. Fresh citrus fruit flavor, pine, and the sweet malt just work so well. This is probably the best balanced beer I've tried. The malt and the hops play the split perfectly here and neither ever dominates at all. Medium body and medium carbination leaves a slight dry sensation after the drink. The mouthfeel is actually a little creamy as well.

I just love this beer. There isn't a bad time of the year for this. It works for BBQ's, cold nights, fall tailgating, and about anything else you could think of. I was lucky enough to try this on cask earlier this year and the cask is really something special as well.

You know that commercial from Coca Cola where they want to buy the world a coke? I think this would a better thing to buy the world than a coke. This will continue to always have a home in my refrigerator.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

North Coast Brewing Old Rasputin

Beer: North Coast Old Rasputin
Brewery Location: Fort Bragg, CA
Beer Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 9.0

I've been sitting on one of these bottles for over a year. I bought this beer Christmas of last year. I have no idea how long Party Pak had it on the shelves. I've had this before, but never took the time time to review it. I do have to say that in terms of pricing this is probably the best Russian Imperial stout that you will find for the best price around two dollars a bottle. If you think something else is a better value please let me know.

This beer pours a very deep mahogany. It poured with two fingers of brown head on it, but it quickly collapsed on itself, but it did leave decent lacing on the walls of my glass. Chocolate, espresso, and hops make their appearance in the nose as well as a nice earthy scent. The taste follows the nose quite well with big flavors of chocolate, smokey peat, toffee, roasted malt, and some dark fruit (mostly plums and raisins). The mouthfeel is full bodied with a fantastic silky smoothness coming through. You can tell the warming alcohol is in this beer, but is very subtle and well done. I could drink this beer again and again.

This is a very nice offering from North Coast. It is outstanding for the style and overall a very well made and well balanced beer. This beer is available all year long so pick up one when you see it out.


Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Beer: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
Brewery Location: Brooklyn, NY
Beer Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 10.6%

I am not sure how long we have been able to get Brooklyn beers in Indiana, but I am sure glad we are able to get them after having this offering. My very first beer from Brooklyn Brewery was this one tonight.

I have said on several occasions that this is my favorite time of the year for beer, and I saw this at Party Pak and wanted to give it a try. I wasn't disappointed.

Pours a dark brown almost black with soft ruby accents. A small brown head started the beer off, but quickly dissipated and left minimal lacing on the glass. The nose is as expected by the title of the beer. I get alot of bitter chocolate with plenty of roasted malt and coffee. I also can barely smell some alcohol coming through as well. The taste is robust and full of bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and espresso. I also get a good dose of rum soaked raisins as well. I don't get much hop flavoring even though the grain bill says it has fuggle hops for flavoring. The mouthfeel on this beer is my favorite aspect. It is thick and coating, but still somehow remains a certain silky smoothness that is really remarkable. This has a high ABV, but the drinkability is really a nice surprise on this beer.

Overall this beer is above average for the style. This is easily drinkable and inviting with every drink. This must be served at cellar temperature though I think. I am glad this was my first Brooklyn brew. I will be coming back to this brew. I hope Party Pak still has some left when I go back.


Dark Horse Scotty Karate

Beer: Dark Horse Scotty Karate
Brewery Location: Marshall, MI
Beer Style: Scotch Ale
Serving Style: On-Tap
ABV: 9.25%

I was at MacNivens the other night for some dinner and a pint. They have had this on tap before, but I never tried it out. I've only had a few offerings from Dark Horse, and I honestly don't know that much about them. I am a big fan of scotch ales though, so I thought this would be a good choice for the meal.

It is served in a snifter and pours a deep chocolate hue with slight ruby highlights and a minimal off-white head. The nose is a combination of sweet malt, caramel, dark fruits, and more than a touch of alcohol with no hops to speak of. The flavor profile is very sweet, almost cloying, combining flavors of caramel, toffee, dark fruit, and toasted malt. The sweetness is really overdone for my liking here. It is medium bodied and almost a little chewy on the palate. The alcohol warmth on this is not well hidden and is what I would consider "boozy," but the alcohol is quite high on this beer.

I love scotch ales, but this just didn't live up to what I was after. The sweetness and the booziness of this beer just didn't sit well with me. Scotch ales are usually on the sweeter side, but this one just took it further than I wanted.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout

Beer: Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout
Brewery Location: Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, UK
Beer Style: Oatmeal Stout
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 5.0%

This is one of my favorite oatmeal stouts. This is brewed all year long, and it is available pretty much anywhere at any time. Trader Joe's has the best price on this that I've found in Indy.

I have personally never been disappointed in an offering from Samuel Smith's. Their winter warmer that I reviewed was one of my least favorites by them, but even with that it was still a pretty damn good beer.

Jeopardy side notes about oatmeal stout: It's popularity started in the mid 1800's and was once prescribed to nursing mothers because they thought it was healthier. The beer almost entirely died out until the beer I am reviewing started making it again in the late 1970's after the last brewer stopped making it. According to Wikipedia Michael Jackson, the beer hunter, is credited with getting the style back online by mentioning it one of his books. From that book is where Samuel Smith's began making oatmeal stout and now it's still a growing style with more brewers making a seasonal oatmeal stout.

Pours a nice deep black with two fingers of tan head. Head had great retention for the entire beer, and it left nice lacing on the walls of the pint glass. Great nose for an oatmeal stout with scents of sweet malt, coffee, toasted grain, and a bit earthiness as well. Taste is where this beer separates itself from other oatmeal stouts. Strong coffee and cream flavor mix well with roasted malt, chocolate and a slight grain/oatmeal flavor lingering at the back of the palate. The mouthfeel is like silk across your palate with a medium body on it. At only 5.0% ABV the drinkability is holds up very well. I could drink several of these and be just fine.

Outstanding example for the style. If you have never had an oatmeal stout before start with this one. There are many bad oatmeal stouts out there and very few that hold a candle to this brew. Grab yourself a few for the winter and enjoy this quintessential oatmeal stout.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dead Guy Ale

Beer: Rogue Dead Guy Ale
Brewery Location: Newport, OR
Beer Style: Maibock/Helles Bock
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 6.5%

I reviewed this beer on tap a while back. The first time I ever tried this beer was on tap, so I wanted to give it a try out of a bottle and see how the they compared. Beer on-tap is almost always better than out of a bottle, but I couldn't believe the difference on this beer.

Pours the same color of deep amber, but out of the bottle it had no head. I poured as normal and still didn't get anything. No lacing at all either on the glass. The scent was very light of mostly malty sweetness with a small touch of hops. I had to work pretty hard to get a good smell for this. Taste is mostly of toasted malt with a touch of caramel coming to the palate. As I let the beer warm up a bit more dark fruit comes in as well. I would like to see the grain bill for this beer because I am wonder if it meant to be there. Are they using dark crystal malt on this beer? The mouthfeel is very thin and overly carbonated. I have heard so many great things about Rogue, so I am willing to try this beer one more time out of a bottle and see if this is really how this beer should taste.

I still can't really believe how much I enjoyed this beer on tap, and how much I disliked it out of a bottle. Let me know what you think if you have tried them both.


Rabid Duck -- RIS

Beer: Duck Rabbit Rabid Duck
Brewery Location: Farmville, NC
Beer Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 10.0%

I do a fair amount of beer trading and this is an offering that I got as a little bonus from a trade. I've only ever had the Baltic Porter from Duck Rabbit and was really wowed by it. Now that it is winter the stouts are going to be making more of an appearance on this blog. This is my favorite time of the year for beer.

Here is a little bit about the Russian Imperial Stout style from the BJCP:

Brewed to high gravity and hopping level in England for export to the Baltic States and Russia. Said to be popular with the Russian Imperial Court. Today is even more popular with American craft brewers, who have extended the style with unique American characteristics.

Even though the name says Russian it is actually an English creation. The same way that India pale ale is an English creation. The higher gravity and hops helped the beer make it all the way from England to the Baltic area and surrounding.

Pours a very opaque black color with a deep tan head with great retention for the entire beer. The nose is a nice combination of roasted grain, chocolate, and dark fruit. When I was almost finished I got a slight smokey scent as well. The taste is of roasted malt, bitter coffee, sweet chocolate, and slight smokey touches as well. I really enjoyed the complexity in this beer with all of those flavors combining quite well. The mouthfeel is very creamy with low carbination. A silky touch of warming alcohol is well done.

There is just so much going on in the complexity of this beer. An outstanding RIS overall. I know we can't get this in Indiana, but if you are ever out on the east coast or know someone who will send you some, this is indeed a great treat. I know I will keep trading for this.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Beer Dinner Party

One of my new favorite blogs is Relentless Thirst from Eric Delia. I just write about my musings and my takes on beer, but Eric’s blog is thought provoking, well written, and sounds like he could do it for a living. One of his blogs (actually an offshoot from Appellation beer) was about the four people who you would invite to a beer dinner either living or dead. It got me thinking and I put together a list of people that I would invite to this dinner:

One of my personal heroes and favorite person to read about is Winston Churchill. I read in his biography that when Churchill was serving as an officer in the army that officers drank only tea and condensed milk. Alcohol was permitted on the front lines, so that is where Churchill headed. His love of the drink, food, and life would be a welcomed addition at the table. Churchill liked his whiskey so choosing a beer for him isn't easy. I am going to go with Duck-Rabbit Baltic Porter. I am sure Winnie is well used to porters, but something with a bit more flavor and bit stronger would be nice. He had an American mother as well, so an American take on an English beer would nice. A part of me also wants to serve him a warm Bud Light. Why you ask? So I could see and hear firsthand one of Churchill's off-the-cuff tirades.

Larry David would be my next choice. Besides creating two of my all time favorite shows hearing David's take on all subjects that would come up would be well worth the time. I don't think there could be a dull moment with Larry David. The beer on this is pretty easy. He'Brew Jewbelation 11. If you watch "Curb Your Enthusiasm" this just seems like the best choice.

Jamie Oliver. He really started my love affair with food. He is just such a damn nice guy as well. I actually sat next to him at his restaurant in London, but I didn't want to say anything and be an annoying tourist. Looking back I should have just done it. He has so many great programs going on out there trying to help the school lunch programs, turning crime likely kids into chefs, and putting out my favorite cookbooks. It is really hard for me to choose a beer for Jamie. He has such an amazing palate I would probably go with Russian River's Supplication Ale. I would think Oliver would appreciate all that was going on with this beer and would have the palate to really appreciate it.

Thelonious Monk. I hated jazz until I heard "Brilliant Corners" from start to finish. Every time people start talking about jazz I am very surprised that so few people have really given him a good listen. Just listening to the music he made and stories he has with all the famous people he made them with would be fantastic. I see Thelonious sipping a nice Belgian strong like Cuvée Van De Keizer from Brouwerij Het Anker. I just see him at the piano with bottle and chalice doing what he did best.

Honorable mention (but still not invited to dinner) Bill Belichick. He gets Arrogant Bastard and a solo cup (and he only gets the solo cup out of respect for Arrogant Bastard). No explanation needed.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stickin' It to the Man

Beer: Tyranena Stickin' It to the Man
Brewery Location: Lake Mills, WI
Beer Style: Double IPA
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 6.5%

I am finally making it through all of the beer that my friend Courtney brought back from Wisconsin for me and her finance, my best friend and beer drinking buddy, Kevin.

This is part of their Brewers Gone Wild! series of beers. This is the second from the series that I've tried. The first was the Spank Me Baby Barleywine that I reviewed a while back.

Pours a deep copper hue with a small off-white head. Plenty of spent yeast still floating in the beer as well. You can actually see it in the picture that goes with this. Decent lacing on the walls of the glass and stayed for the entire beer. Good nose full of pine and sweet citrus fruit. Not as bold as many DIPA's, but still very good for this beer. Good balance of hoppy and malty scents as the beer warms. The taste isn't as bold as the nose would lead onto. A big malty base is really my first flavor, but the bitterness of the hops comes in at the back of the palate and leaves a bitter finish. Slight toffee and citrus notes as the beer warmed, but the citrus notes in the nose never really made it to my palate. The beer is medium bodied with very light carbination. Drinkability is good if I am looking for an IPA, but doesn't stand up to its peers.

I am going to go out on a limb here and not call this a DIPA as they indicated. I think it fits more into the regular IPA style than a DIPA. Of the Brewers Gone Wild series this was my favorite. I doubt I will ever get a chance to sample this again, but I am glad to have been able to give it a try.


Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale

Beer: Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale
Brewery Location: Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, UK
Beer Style: Winter Warmer
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 6.0%

I wanted to try a seasonal winter beer while we were at the Heorot. I have seen this bottle at Party Pak and haven't yet tried it, so this was a good opportunity for it. This is actually my first "winter warmer" styled beer. The BJCP says this about winter warmers:

Winter warmers are a more modern style that are maltier, fuller-bodied, often darker beers that may be a brewery's winter seasonal special offering.

I didn't notice until after the beer was almost finished that this was the batch from 2005. I would really like to try this as a vertical tasting to see if there is much difference at all.

Pours a medium ruddy hue with slight orange accents with three fingers of head from an unaggressive pour. Head dissipated rather quickly and left only a very thin blanket of lace with little to no lacing on the glass walls. I smell a sweet scent of toffee and caramel at first with slight touches of biscuity malt and cinnamon. The scent isn't heavy and you need to really get your nose into it for those smells to become dominant. The taste is very light and easy on the palate. I do pick up slight flavors of malt, dark fruit, and butterscotch. Mouthfeel is very smooth with low carbination and a nice sippable factor to it as well and lends itself for great drinkability all year long really.

Not personally one of my favorite offerings from Samuel Smiths, but a good effort nonetheless. I am going to give this another try from this years batch and see if there anything different about it.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Double Cream Stout

Beer:Bell's Double Cream Stout
Brewery Location: Comstock, MI
Beer Style: Milk/Cream Stout
Serving Style: On-Tap
ABV: 6.1%

I will be writing another review of it later, but Sunday I found myself at the Heorot in Muncie. I really can't say enough about the Heorot, but in a couple reviews I am going to try.

One of the beers that they had on tap (of the many) was Bell's Double Cream Stout. I've only ever had it out of a bottle and was a fan of it, but I really wanted to give it a chance on tap. A cold winters day in the Heorot with a pint of this was just about perfect.

It pours a black obsidian hue with a brown off color head into the pint glass. Great lacing as the beer progressed all the way to the end of the beer. It has a wonderful sweet roasted barley scent with aromas of vanilla, rich chocolate, and a bit of coffee. The taste follows the nose into roasted barley with chocolate and cocoa notes. I didn't get any coffee flavor on tongue, but a bit of vanilla did come to life as the beer warmed more. Not overly bitter with a sweetness coming into play on the back of the palate was nicely done. The mouthfeel on this is smooth and creamy and coats nicely with the alcohol very well hidden. Drinkability is also high due to the low carbination and silky smooth mouthfeel and not overly high alcohol ABV. I could easily make this a session stout.

Well done on this one Bells!


Friday, December 7, 2007

Extra ESB 471

Beer: Breckenridge Extra ESB
Brewery Location: Dever, CO
Beer Style: Extra Special Bitter
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 7.8%

I just reviewed a Breckenridge DIPA not long ago, and based on some of the responses I got I decided to pick up their ESB and give it a whirl. I really enjoy the ESB style. According to the BJCP this beer is all about balance for the style. More hops and malt than a traditional English bitter, but the most important thing is drinkability.

One thing I do with ESB's though is let them warm up. Personally I like my ESB's a little "warm." Rouges Brutal Bitter is best enjoyed about 50 degrees or so. I actually attended a vertical tasting (a slight variation of a vertical tasting) where Fuller's ESB and Brutal Bitter were both served at refrigerator temp and at around 50 degrees. ESB's really do open up a bit when served a bit warmer. You can easily do this at home and see what you think, but for me I will always like my ESB's just a little warm.

It pours a deep copper color approaching a rich mahogany color. Very thin head that quickly dissipated. The beer does leave small bits of lacing on the glass as well. I smell a great deal of caramel going on in the beer with a blast of hops I wasn't really expecting. I like that though. Toasted malt also makes an appearance about half way down the beer. A very nice balanced flavor of hops and malt. The hops take stage first but the sweetness of the caramel flavors tones it down quite a bit. Toasted malt really comes to life as well on the finish. This is much more in your face than other ESB's I've tried. The mouthfeel is actually quite nice and full. Low carbination with a nice bite both on the front and back of the palate. Very drinkable, but personally it would not make a good session beer for me.

I enjoyed this beer, but I really had my mind set on an ESB, and this beer doesn't really fit that bill for me. This is a beefed up ESB. There is no such than as a Double ESB, but if there was this would go in that category. This is well worth trying if you like ESB's and IPA's. I think it is a good mix of both of those styles.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hop Hearty Ale

Beer: New Glarus Hop Hearty Ale
Brewery Location: New Glarus, WI
Beer Style: IPA
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 6.10%

I am still working through some of the beer my friend Courtney brought back from Wisconsin. I didn't realize I even had this in my stash. It was a nice surprise to find this and give it a try. Regular IPA's are usually my go-to beers. I almost always have Two-Hearted from Bells or Stone's IPA on hand for just about all occasions.

Pours a slight hazed copper color with a small tight white head. The beer leaves decent rings of lacing on my pint glass. Good nose with a dominant scent of heavy hops and a slight grass scent with a touch of caramel about half way down. The taste is balance of toasted malt, slight caramel flavor with citrus fruit making its way onto your palate. The hop bitterness blends very well with the caramel flavor the entire beer. Lightly carbonated body, but it leaves very little aftertaste after swallow. I was hoping for a bit more here, but overall very solid offering. The drinkability is very good for this IPA, and with how well balanced it is makes for easy drinking that will have you wanting another one.

This isn't a smack you in the face IPA, and I tend to like balanced IPA's a bit more than the over-the-top hop profile IPA's with no malt balance. Solid offering from New Glarus. If this ever comes back to Indiana it is well worth the try.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Beer: Alesmith's Yulesmith (Winter)
Brewery Location: San Diego, CA
Beer Style: Imperial Red Ale
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 9.5%

When you are a beer geek and you travel outside of the state you always look for something new and interesting to try. There are certain beers that just are not available here in Indiana. I wish Alesmith was available here in Indiana. I bought this beer down in Cincinnati a while back at Jungle Jims and still have a few left. I don't fully understand distribution laws, but it seems like if a beer travels past Indiana to get to Ohio, there is no reason we shouldn't get this here. When beer geeks find out how delicious this beer is they would be buying it in great quantities. I think I read that Alesmith is also distributed with Stone's beer, so we should hopefully get this beer in Indiana.

Jungle Jim's by the way is a great place to pick up beer as well. Their selection is as good or better than Kahn's and Party Pak, but it is housed in this massive building that has just about any food from any country you've ever imagined. It's well worth the visit if you find yourself down that way. It really is a unique experience.

Alesmith produces this beer twice a year. I am reviewing the winter offering. You can tell from the bottles because the winter bottle is in Christmas colors and the summer bottle in blue. They call the winter offering an Imperial Red Ale, but probably belongs in the strong ale category and is very close to a DIPA.

The beer pours a very deep rustic orange color with three fingers off-white head. The lacing on the beer is one of the best I've seen. Billowy pillows of head leave large creamy rings of lace all the way to the end of the beer. The scent on this beer is a hop lovers dream. You can smell the resinous pine and grapefruit that are very bold and you can easily pick out the sweet caramel scent vying for your attention as well. Truly one of the best noses I've ever smelled on a beer. The taste on this beer is really something special. The first sip grabs your attention with the hops taking center stage. Bold flavors of candied grapefruit, pine, grain, toffee, and caramel come to the palate before the huge malted and bready backbone balance out those flavors. It is so complex, but it is still so very easy to pick out things in the flavor profile. Each sip the creamy mouthfeel brings those flavors in and out and never falter during the entire beer. The mouthfeel is full, bold, sticky, syrupy, and the best of all velvety. This beer is really something special. Such a great winter warmer.

I normally don't really just shower attention on something and try and give a fair review of a beer, but this is truly one of the best beers I've ever had in my life. Everything I look for in a beer Yulesmith beats the expectation on every category. The taste and mouthfeel are the two biggest keys on this beer. If I tried to make beer commercially this would be my benchmark.

If I was going to die tomorrow I would want to drink this tonight. That is how good this beer is. Easily in my top five beers of all time. The bottle states that this is for gift giving during the holiday season. You would be my favorite person on Christmas morning if this was sitting under my tree.


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Breckenridge 471 IPA

Beer: Breckenridge 471 IPA Small Batch
Brewery Location: Denver, CO
Beer Style: Double IPA
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 9.2%

I've been getting into beers from Breckenridge for a little while now. They produce a nice lineup of beers that are easily found in most decent liquor stores in the area. I first drank this this summer at a BBQ, and it was really nice for the occasion. This is a DIPA, but there are a few things different about this beer that make it unique for a DIPA.

It pours a nice hazy coppered hue with a slightly off white head. The head retention on this beer lasted for the entire beer(even though it was mostly a light blanket of head). Thick walls of lacing stay on my pint glass the entire time. The scent isn't quite what I expected. It is a unique blend of caramel malt and a hops scent that is complex and hard to pick out exactly what hop was used. There is a slight citrus scent coming through as well, but it is very undefined in the beer. The taste also isn't in your face as you would expect. Biscuty malt, toffee, and an almost syrupy sweetness start off with the complex hop flavoring coming in. Citrus, pine, and candied fruit change in complexity with each drink. This isn't like any other DIPA I've encountered. I enjoy the unique taste with the caramel coming into play more than I've experienced before. The mouthfeel is sticky and creamy at the same time. The sweet caramel and bitter hop flavor stays with you after you swallow. The drinkability is also really nice on this and would enjoyed about any time.

I really enjoyed this beer. As I stated before it isn't like any other DIPA I've encountered. That is what I love about all of the craft brewing going on in America. A different take on a beer is really refreshing. I just think this is a well balanced and well built beer. DIPA's keep getting more bitter and more harsh (we will see what happens this year) so I think it's more difficult to make a beer like this that will show the brewers mistakes, but I don't really find one on this beer. Well worth the try if you see it out in either bomber or six pack form.