Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ballast Point Big Eye IPA

Beer: Ballast Point Big Eye IPA
Brewery Location: San Diego, CA
Beer Style: IPA
ABV: 6%

Did I mention that I love west coast IPAs? I've traded for some things from Ballast Point recently, and I've only ever had this beer before and their Big Marlin porter, and I should be working my way through the rest of them in the near future. Ballast Point is another brewery making a nice name for themselves out of San Diego.

Big Eye pours a nice rustic amber color with a good sized and slightly off-white head on it. It left spotty lacing on my pint glass. The smell is packed full citrus fruits with notes of oranges, tangerines, and lemon peel. There is some slight caramel notes coming out of the malt as well, but not well pronounced. I don't think I am giving the nose justice there, but this is complex and wonderful nose on this IPA. The scents leads right into the flavor profile with the bitter hops upfront flooding with flavors of grapefruit, pine needles, lemon zest, and finally the caramel soaked bready malt comes out in the finish. The flavors meld very well together and create a unique and balanced IPA for a hop-lover. I would think a non IPA drinker would find this offering quite harsh though, but not me. The mouthfeel has plenty of carbonation for this medium bodied beer that leaves no detectable alcohol in the finish. The drinkability for a hop lover is excellent and would also be quite session able at only six percent.

This is just a really nice IPA. It certainly isn't a DIPA by any stretch of the imagination, but this also isn't an entry level IPA. It has more bitterness and more malt than your average IPA. I am guessing that is because they only used one type of hops, centennial, for bittering hops and for dry hopping purposes. This beer is well balanced, clean, and quite refreshing. I would go so far as to say that it would be in my normal rotation in my fridge if I could find it locally.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Terrapin Hop Shortage Ale

Beer: Terrapin Brewing Hop Shortage Ale
Brewery Location: Athens, GA
Beer Style: American IPA
ABV: 6.2%

I've been back to beer trading recently after a nice break from it. I've had some beer from Terrapin, but I've been wanting to give this beer a chance. Despite the name of the beer, according to the bottle they wanted to make a hop-bomb during the hop shortage we are currently in.

This beer pours a clear golden/orange hue with two fingers worth of fluffy white head that dissipated very quickly and left minimal lacing on my pint glass. I get a pretty good aroma of this beer as I am pouring it. The nose is full of citrus fruit being heavy on the orange scents, but the heaviest scents lean towards sweet and bready malt. I wasn't expecting that out of the nose on this IPA. The flavor profile is also strange to me for an IPA. I do get citrus and pine on the palate, but I get more sweet malt upfront with a moderate bitter finish. All of the flavors are there, but they are not really all that prominent. I am not getting much of a hop bite over the malt sweetness. It is not cloyingly sweet, but just sweeter than most IPAs I've drank. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, but finishes a little watery. The drinkability is decent enough for this beer, and would enjoyed if you like your IPAs on the sweet side.

Overall, this beer was a miss for me. The malt sweetness was heavier than I personally enjoy, and I would have liked to see some more body on the mouthfeel. This wasn't really the hop-bomb that the bottle said it was going to be.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Three Floyd's Fantabulous Resplendence XI Anniversary

Beer: Three Floyd's Fantabulous Resplendence XI Anniversary
Brewery Location: Munster, IN
Beer Style: American IPA
ABV: 7%

I can't believe a year has passed already since the first Fantabulous came out last year. I had heard it was out in Chicago, but didn't know it was around Indianapolis already, and got lucky when I went to the store, because a whole case of it was sitting on the floor just waiting to be put on the shelf. I've got one bottle of the X anniversary left, but that was a DIPA and could hold up to aging, but I won't be aging this years offering because of the lower ABV. Everyone who reads this blog knows that I am a fan of FFF's, and was excited to give another one of their beers a try.

I will also preface this by saying that you should try and have this as close to cellar temp as possible. It really opened up at that point and was a much better drinking experience. It was too cold when I served it and everything was quite muted, but it really opened up as it warmed.

This beer pours a light copper color with a small one fingers worth of head, and it didn't really leave any lacing on my glass. The smell is a nice change of pace from FFF's. The hops are still there quite a bit, just not hit you in the face boldness. I get plenty of floral hops in the bouquet, earthyness, pine, and a bit of pineapple and grapefruit. The flavor profile starts off with a good dose of earthy bitterness quickly followed by the citrus fruit upfront. The malt really comes out nicely to balance out the bitterness. The malt has plenty of caramel and soft toffee notes for balance. I do get a bit of a bitter tea like flavor in the finish. This beer was brewed with jasmine, (unconfirmed, but that is the rumor) but I can't really say if that is the flavor I am picking up on. I think it is a nice mix of flavors that compliment each other quite well. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with just about the perfect amount of carbonation. I do pick up the bitter tea/tannin flavor strongly in the finish, but the alcohol is well hidden. The drinkability is quite nice on this beer and well balanced. I will be having my other bottle in the near future.

I like how this showcased some more range out of FFF's. This isn't an over the top hop-bomb, but a well crafted and balanced beer. The herbs they used in the brew really come out and compliment the hops better than I would have thought they would. My only real complaint about this beer is the price. It was $11.99 for a bomber of this beer. That is pushing my limit for a regular IPA, but since it was a limited brew I gave it a shot. Enjoy it while you can find it around town.

Here is also another write up from a blog-o-sphere friend. Generik's Tap.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Green Flash West Coast Imperial IPA

Beer: Green Flash West Coast Imperial I.P.A.
Brewery Location: Vista, CA
Beer Style: American DIPA
ABV: 9%

I am not sure what my blog holds for the future, but I've joined the Hoosier Beer Geeks, and will be doing postings over there as well. My individual beer format doesn't really fit in over there, so I think I will continue to post those here, but any beer news, trips, or events will be housed over there. My whole intention of this blog is simply to help me train my palate and taste some pretty damn good (and sometimes awful) beer. I am happy to hear that some people have gotten something out of this blog at one point or another, and if you haven't, well I can't give you back any minutes of your life.

You know I love my West Coast IPA's and DIPA's, and this one is well respected among West Coast DIPA's. I personally traded for this bottle, but if you find yourself in Ohio it is distributed there, as well as Chicago, and if you really want this beer you can buy it have it shipped to your directly at Liquid Solutions. I've used LS on a number of occasions and they are a great operation.

This is my very first beer from Green Flash.

It pours a wonderful golden hue with a huge billowing three fingered head on it. This had great head retention until almost my last sip, and left decent spotty lacing on my pint glass. The nose is no surprise for a San Diego style DIPA. It has loads of fresh citrus fruit leaning towards mostly grapefruit with pine and a certain earthiness that comes through, but not with much potency, and I think that works well for this offering. This is a very pleasing nose to this hop-head. The flavor profile almost does a 180 though. The pine and earthiness that was more muted in the nose comes out full force upon first sip with plenty of bitterness and pine needles. The citrus flavor comes in about mid-drink with plenty of grapefruit and tropical fruit into the finish. The malt tried to come in, but just didn't have the power to get over the hops. The mouthfeel is bordering on full bodied with low carbonation, and the warming alcohol is quite well hidden. The drinkability is also very good on this beer for one bomber, and I would most likely split this with someone if I had another bottle of it.

This was a pretty good beer overall, but it wouldn't crack my top DIPAs. I would have liked to see a bit more malt on this offering, and slightly more carbonation for my liking. I certainly wouldn't say no to this beer again though, and would purchase more of it most likely if available in Indiana.


Monday, July 14, 2008

If you loan me the money you drink for free!

I've got a spot in my backyard that would fit perfectly.

The Backyard Bar.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It's official: This Bud's for Belgium

InBev went to $70 bucks a share and now it is official. AB has agreed to be bought by InBev. As I stated before, I am sure most of you don't care, but I've enjoyed watching this unfold.

This stirred up some pretty serious emotions in some people, and a website was even set up for people to sign a petition, and as I write this about 70,000 people have signed up. I hope those people that are angry about this will look to their own backyards to drink local and American again if that is what their main problem was in the first place.

Either way, I won't post about this anymore.


Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout

Beer: Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
Brewery Location: Escondido, CA
Beer Style: Stout
ABV: 9.2%

I just reviewed the 11th anniversary ale, and the 12 anniversary has been in Indiana less than a week now. I read over at Hoosier Beer Geek that Cavalier got a higher quantity from Stone than normal. I stopped at Party Pak yesterday and they had a ton of this beer at $8.99 a bomber. I planned on purchasing some extra for trading and aging purposes, and I checked the internet on my phone (has this change anyone else's shopping habits?) and found this beer for a buck cheaper a bomber a mile away, and I bought my fills worth of this offering. $7.99 a bomber seemed to be a better price, but I read over at RateBeer that this beer is $5.99 in Detroit and other places in Michigan, but at least we get it here right?

Stone's anniversary beers have tended to be towards IPAs and DIPAs that the west coast brewer is known for, but this year they changed things up and went with a chocolate oatmeal stout. I am sure hop prices may have also had something to do with this as well. This is actually the combination of two different beer recipes. The first being an imperial stout and the other being an oatmeal stout. The original formulation called for Oaxacan chocolate, but I am sure the price of that kept it from being brewed for the masses and they still went with unsweetened cocoa added to the boil. It would be really cool to be able to have a vertical of the original home brew recipe and the final product.

This stout pours absolutely jet black with no light penetration. A small dirty brown head sits on top of the beer. This is a gorgeous looking stout. I served just below cellar temp to give this a chance to warm up a bit. The nose is really nice on this offering with plenty of roasted grain, bitter and rich chocolate notes, coffee, and black licorice. Once the beer warmed past cellar temp though plenty of hot alcohol notes quickly came on and overtook everything smelling like fingernail polish. The flavor profile starts out with plenty of bitter chocolate notes, light espresso, dark fruit, oats, and roasted grain. The alcohol I smelled in the nose comes across in flavor profile in the finish. I do have to say the that chocolate flavor tastes like they used good chocolate, and didn't skimp on that aspect like some other chocolate stouts that I've tasted. The mouthfeel is velvety smooth from the oat addition with very low carbonation. It isn't nearly as viscous as some other stouts, but I like that actually. I do start feeling the warming alcohol though as I get near the bottom of this bomber. The drinkability is quite nice with how easy to drink this was both in the flavor profile and on the mouthfeel.

I think this will be a really nice beer in six months to a year, but right now this beer is a little "hot" for my liking. I've got several to age for this winter, and I think this will be a real winner. If you like stouts make sure to get one of these before they are all gone.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

New Holland Red Tulip Ale

Beer: New Holland Red Tulip Ale
Brewery Location: Holland, MI
Beer Style: Red Ale
ABV: I'm guessing less than 5%

I am sad to say that I am not all that familiar with New Holland as a brewery. We get them here in Indiana, but I've just never had that many offerings from them. Through no fault of there own, I had a Mad Hatter IPA at a local bar that the lines must have been infected or never cleaned properly and it was the worst beer I've ever ordered at a bar before, and I just never really looked for their beer after that. I did enjoy their Dragon's Milk though when I had it last year.

This beer pours as a cloudy deep reddish/amber tone with just a slightly off-white head on it. I get some moderate malt aroma on the nose, but it is very light and I have to work at it a bit. The taste is quite soft and very unoffensive with flavors of apples and pears and a touch of biscuit in the malt. The flavor is very soft here and mostly malty, but it doesn't come through with much punch. The mouthfeel is actually quite creamy and light on the palate, and that helps the easy drinkability on this offering.

This was a good beer for the style, but it wasn't one of my personal favorites. I am looking for bolder flavors coming through than this beer, but that shouldn't deter you from giving it a chance.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tyranena Bitter Woman IPA

Beer: Tyranena Bitter Woman IPA
Brewery Location: Lake Mills, WI
Beer Style: IPA
ABV: 5.75%

I've been a fan of Tyranena since I was able to give them a try last year. I will be certain to pick them up if I make a trip up to Wisconsin. As far as I know, and from what their website states their beer is only available in Wisconsin. I sat down outside a couple nights ago and had this offering that I received in trade recently. I think the label art catches the name of this brew quite nicely.

Bitter woman pours a clear golden copper tint with a small cap of bright white head on it, and it left minimal lacing on my pint glass. I get a mild hop presence in the nose with hints of grass, citrus, and pine needles. I would say that the carmel malt has a bigger precense than the hops do on this offering. The flavor profile is where the hops come to life with plenty of fresh citrus fruit upfront and on the finish with the fairly soft caramel malt flavor coming in. The mouthfeel is good with medium carbonation, but I feel the body is rather thin on this one. The drinkability is pretty good for this offering, and would make a decent session brew.

Overall this was a decent beer, but I wouldn't go to it very often. The thin mouthfeel and toned down body of this beer. I enjoyed Tyranena's brewers gone wild series the most thus far, but this one just didn't do it for me, but I am ready to give some more of their beers a try if I can get my hands on more of them.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Lazy Magnolia Brewing Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale

Beer: Lazy Magnolia Brewing Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale
Brewery Locacation: Kiln, MS
Beer Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 4.02%

You don't hear much around Indiana about the brewing happening down in Mississippi, but when I've heard anything about brewing companies down there it has always been Lazy Magnolia Brewing. I honestly don't know if Mississippi has any strange blue laws like their neighbors in Alabama do, but most of Lazy Magnolia's offerings are not very heavy on the ABV, and they make a decent assortment of very quaff able brews.

According to the bottle this is the world's first beer brewed with roasted pecans.

This beer pours an amber tinted brown color that is perfectly clear with a small white head on it that dissipated quite quickly and left minimal lacing on my pint glass. I get a pretty good whiff of caramel malt in the nose, and the nuttiness coming from the pecans I assume, but a pecan scent isn't really distinguishable. As the beer warmed I also get some honey and some maple brown sugar syrup in there as well. I now get the pecan nuttiness in the flavor profile upon first sip along with a malt sweetness that tastes like a mixture of caramel and toffee. I am getting quite a bit of bread in the malt as well. I found the nose and flavor profile to be quite complex for such a low ABV beer. The mouthfeel is medium with slightly above average carbonation and a sweet finish. The drinkability is quite nice on this brown ale, and I would purchase this beer if available locally.

I am glad I was able to give this beer a try. This doesn't get much distribution outside of the deep south though, but if you have the chance to give this beer a try I would say it is worth your time.


InBev stepping up efforts for AB takeover

I've been following what will happen with InBev and AB for a while now, and got quite a few responses about it in a past post.

It was reported today that InBev has filed with SEC to begin the process of removing the board members from AB in a hostile takeover, and going directly to the shareholders for the takeover bid. InBev seems quite determined to get their hands on AB.

Here is the article.

I have an interest in the markets, and I find this quite interesting, but I am sure most of you don't really care.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Three Floyds Blackheart

Beer: Three Floyds Blackheart
Brewery Location: Munster, IN
Beer Style: English IPA
ABV: 9.0%

Another brew I've been excited to try from the boys up at FFFs is this beer. FFFs is known for some over the top and "extreme" beers, but I am really hoping to be wowed by this offering from them and hopefully have a good change of pace. I had a conversation with someone at a recent beer event and they were slamming FFFs for their beer and stated "Do they make a balanced beer"? Ferrari doesn't make a grocery getter, so why does a brewery have to make something for your tastes? I am not just talking about FFFs there, but it seems like somehow on the beer websites they are always the whipping boy for this argument, but I am also talking about many brewers across the county. Just because brewer X doesn't make a intro APA or light lager or (insert your favorite style here) doesn't mean that is a reason to write them off. It is only beer, and I say you need to drink what you like, and drink a beer that keeps you coming back again and again. If that be a FFFs, Founders, Bells, or if you are cousin Eddie from the vacation movies a cold and frosty Meister brau beer then so be it. (Sadly friends Meister Brau is no longer made, and the best cheap beer and best laxative has been retired permanently)

FFFs always has some amazing label art, but this one is really unique and quite awesome I think and provided by Tim Lehi & Jeff Rassier.

According to the bottle this is FFFs attempt at an English IPA. They used English ingredients including yeast, barley, and hops, and then they aged it in oak barrels to try and give it that authentic real English IPA flavor. I do mean authentic in terms that it traveled from England to India via a wooden barrel. The only thing that is missing is English water.

Blackheart pours a clear slightly bronzed hue with a huge cap of solid white head on it, and it has lots of carbonation bubbles coming to the surface. I am greeted on the nose of this beer by plenty of caramel and toasted malt, but also by plenty of fruit like apples, peaches, and some apricot. I also get some of the notes from the oak aging, but that didn't happen until the beer had warmed up plenty and was nearly gone. The flavor profile has loads of spicy fruit starting it off with dominant flavors of apricot and tangerines upfront. The secondary flavors come in quickly, and I get tastes of caramel, oak, and the toasted malt. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and very smooth, and I noticed very little alcohol on the mouth. I wasn't really expecting that for a 9% English IPA. The drinkability is dangerously easy. I could have polished off another bomber of this beer with ease.

This beer got my conversation going with the person I spoke about above who said "Does FFF's make a balanced beer"? This was the best balanced beer I've had from FFF's. This beer is supposed to be an English IPA, but it really is like that, but with more attitude. To me at least an English IPA tends to be a bit more muted in the flavor profile and more balanced towards the malt, but this beer leans more towards the hops and oak flavor. I really enjoyed this beer, and I certainly hope they make this again, but I am not holding my breath on that one. This beer can still be found around Indy right now, but not many places will have it. You can check here to see if any is still available. The people that read this blog know that Three Floyds is my favorite brewer and they did not disappoint me with this offering.