Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wow, talk about a hobby.

So, I started this blog back on April 20, 2009 (right after tax season mind you). 1,000 hits and 118 different beers later, we close out 2009! Some things I learned this year:

1) IPAs are tasty - 21 of the 118 new beers I tried were IPAs
2) Go local when you can - probably some of my favorite brews come from local breweries, where you can literally get it straight from the tap. Marble Brewing definitely wins out on this locally.
3) Beware of Barleywines, but in a good way - these suckers are potent and can result in backseat wrasslin' during Thanksgiving if you're not careful. Not advised unless you want massive bruising the next day.
4) Bombers are great for trying new stuff that you can't get in a six pack and often are special releases, so worth trying.
5) More liquor stores need to implement "Mix-A-Six Pack" deals...Papago Brewing in Phoenix does this and lets you explore without buying full six packs.

Anyway, cheers as we enter 2010 and a lot of new beers!

Not just bastardly...DOUBLE bastardly!

The first time I had Arrogant Bastard was at Murphy's in Prescott, AZ. In fact, I think this was my first experience with the rough riders at Stone Brewing. A few months ago, Stone released the Double Bastard and the Oaked Double Bastard. I got to try both and they definitely were bastardly beers. I had the Oaked Double Bastard on cask at Papago Brewing and the standard Double Bastard in a bomber from BevMo.

The opaque, dark brown beer had a beautiful foamy light tan head. The alcohol scent was pretty potent, along with the strong malt. The Oaked Double Bastard was a silkier, richer beer, but the sourness was overpowering. The regular Double Bastard was more enjoyable, as it just wasn't soooo robust. Both versions featured a lot of woody flavors, with bourbon and oak. Lots of strong flavors, which leaned more on the oak side with the Oaked DB; the regular DB leaning more to molasses and a little hops. The carbonation of the regular DB was low, with the Oaked DB being much more smooth thanks to the hand pumped nature of the casked beer. The beer was a unique experience, but if I were to pick it up again, I'd go with the standard DB rather than the oaked one.

Appearance - 4.5/5.0 - blackhole of light, no light comes through, dark brown, beautiful foamy light tan head
Smell - 3.0/5.0 - malty, alcohol, oak, alcohol and alcohol.
Taste - Oaked Double Bastard = 3.5/5.0 - sour malt, alcohol, aftertaste is subdued but sour; Double Bastard = 4.0/5.0 - sourness is less potent, flavor is more enjoyable and less robusto.
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - Oaked Double Bastard had hand pumped smoothness, both had flavor that sticks around with the aftertaste
Drinkability - 2.5/5.0 - not what I expected, wanted a bit more; especially out of the Oaked Double Bastard

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Put a Reserve on this one - you'll need it

I had a little taste of this brew, the Marble Reserve Ale, at the brewery a few weeks ago but hadn't had a chance to fully enjoy it. Thanks to my new friend, Raul, having some at the Triangle Grocery in Cedar Crest, I finally ended up getting a bottle. This beer has been aged in barrels of Woodford Reserve for 8 months, really infusing the ale with that delicious bourbon taste.

Pours an auburn hue with an obvious thickness. The head is creamy tan and doesn't go away at all. The bourbon aroma is heavenly and very appetizing. I had a moment when I took my first sip - the rich, sweet bourbon flavor is powerful and delicious. You'll also get some vanilla and woodesy oak taste. Creamy would be the best way to describe the consistency - the vescocity of the beer really coats your mouth and the glass. The strength of the brew (at a whomping 9%) doesn't overpower your mouth though, as that could have a downside of the beer. Instead, it is a very clean beer that leaves your palate demanding more. Wish I could get this beer all the time, but there is something said for it being selectively available - you really appreciate it when you have it. If you can still find this at Quarters, Kelly's, Jubliation, or the Triangle Grocery (in the east mountains), it runs about $12-$14 a bomber and well worth it.

Apperance - 4.0/5.0 -Pretty auburn hue with a creamy tan head
Smell - 4.0/5.0 - Sweet bourbon aroma that isn't so overwhelming that you end up thinking you stuck your nose in a bottle of bourbon
Taste -5.0/5.0 - Creamy, sweet bourbon flavor that doesn't overpower your taste buds
Feel - 5.0/5.0 - Clean, smooth and creamy
Drinkability - 4.0/5.0 - Price tag is a big high, which makes this a very delicious, but OCCASIONAL, treat!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Bounty

This was a bountiful beer Christmas this year. Ended up getting each of family members in Albuquerque a bomber of something...

Made for a fun tasting as we worked our way though them as we opened gifts. Definitely will need to do again next year, probably with some different beers.

The Triangle Grocery had some of these cool Samuel Smith's gift packs - you got 3 Victorian pints (Oatmeal Stout, Pale Ale and Nut Brown Ale), a Samuel Smith's pint glass and some coasters. A pretty sweet deal for only $10.99. The Victorian pints usually go for $3.50-$4.00 anyway, so you're coming out ahead on this one. The pint glass is really nice quality too. Definitely looking forward to trying out the Pale Ale, which is the only one of the three I haven't had yet.

A surprise visit from Santa Beer around 7pm-ish on Christmas Day was probably the most memorable moment of this Christmas. Ol' Saint Nick came with a box containing what seems like the Holy Grail of beers - Sam Adams' Utopias. This very beautiful ceramic brew kettle contains an 27% ABV elixir that is illegal in 13 states (no, really...there are 13 states you can't get this beer in). Apparently, there were 4 available in the state and Triangle Grocery got one. I'm a bit scared to try this, so trying to figure out what to do with it still. Once I have a taste, we'll get it up here. Fortunately, this thing is resealable, so you don't have to drink it all at once.

Friday, December 25, 2009

On the 12th day of Christmas, Santa Beer gave to me...

a wonderful Christmas treat from Chicago - Goose Island Christmas Ale.

The Christmas Ale pours a soft amber brown with a wispy white head. Lots of sweet malt smells, along with holiday spices - nutmeg, cinnamon, etc... sorta like a beer-nog. Excellent taste, with malt being the primary flavor, bits of sweetness in the beer too. It tasted like something made for the holidays (whatta concept...). Crispy at the end and the flavors sit in your mouth for a little bit. Middle of the road in terms of carbination and body, but fitting for a brown ale. Very enjoyable on this Christmas day and had I the wherewithall, would have purchased a few more! Given that most winter seasonal beers tend to lend themselves to a darker variety (or the typical "Winter Warmer" style beer), this was a very welcome treat.

You may be able to find this at Jubliation still for $6.99 a bomber, so scope them out. Otherwise, available at Kelly's and Quarter's as well.

Merry Christmas!!!

Appearance - 3.5/5.0 - Soft amber brown, lil' bit of white head
Smell - 4.0/5.0 - the smell of Christmas - nutmeg, cinnamon, etc... subdued, but detectable
Taste - 4.5/5.0 - Sweet delicious malt, crispy
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - Medium bodied, with medium carbonation; finishes well and clean
Drinkability - 4.5/5.0 - A great option for a holiday beer outside the standard winter beer; very tasty!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

On the 11th day of Christmas, Santa Beer gave to me...

a smoky porter from Chama River Brewing - El Fumador!

Remember this guy? I don't know if he ever had a name on the X-Files other than "The Smoking Man." Just remember kids that if you smoke, you'll end up looking like him, regardless if you have a Y chromosome or not. Anyway, yesterday I had a choice to make after work: Go to the gym and run 3 miles....or partake in a beer at Chama River, where it was $2.50 pint night. I just wasn't feeling the gym, so figured a beer was in order. So, upon getting there, I found the El Fumador porter to be intriguing, especially since I had stopped off at my favorite local tobacconists (Stag Tobacconists on Juan Tabo and Montgomery) for some Christmas cigars earlier...

The nice bartender brought over this pint, which looked like someone managed to bottle a cloud of black smoke, then topped it off with a creamy tan head. Take a whiff and you'll get aromas of smoke, chocolate, coffee and malt. The beer doesn't have a terribly intense smell, which is ok as the taste definitely makes up for it. You can taste the alcohol, which is mixed in with some caramel, strong coffee and bitter smokiness. That bitterness will stick around in the back of your throat, sorta like a film in your mouth. This was a good beer with a sturdy 7.0% ABV - I think the bitterness threw me off initially, but it ended up being a very enjoyable brew.

Apperance -5.0/5.0 - Perfect pitch black, creamy tan head
Smell - 3.5/5.0 - Smoke, chocolate, coffee, malt - lighter aroma
Taste - 3.5/5.0 - Alcohol, caramel, coffee and bitter smokyness
Feel - 3.0/5.0 - Bitterness with an aftertaste that sticks around the back of your throat
Drinkability - 3.0/5.0 - A good porter, but the bitterness threw me off. This is redeemed by the nice ABV though

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On the 10th day of Christmas, Santa Beer gave to me...

a delicious oatmeal stout brewed locally - the Marble Oatmeal Stout.

I can't say enough about Marble Brewing. They offer really world-class beer and are a good buy. I had a real internal struggle about joining the Beer Club since I work about 2 minutes from Chama River, but really prefer the beer and atmosphere of Marble. Anyway, after Marble was very generous with providing beer for a charity event I put on, it cemented my decision. If you haven't taken the time to check out the brewery, go down there - they have seven regular beers on tap (of all different varietys) plus 3-4 seasonal ones. Right now, they have two winter beers and the bourbon barrel reserve. Haven't gotten down to try the winter ones, but the reserve is amazing.

Marble created a lovely brew in this one - an expresso colored bomber of bliss. Once poured from its glass prison, you'll get a really foamy toasted almond head with tons of tasty aromas. Roasted coffee, dark chocolate and toasted malt are really evident and are expected for the style. The flavor fits all of the scenty goodness and is extremely well blended, so as not to overwhelm with too much robustness. And you can taste the oats, which seems right given it's an OATmeal stout. I've had other oatmeal stouts where you didn't get that taste and it just seemed downright improper. While not a thick beer, the brew does have some body to it. If you were to gauge it on a scale of 1-10, 1 being Bud Light and 10 being molasses, then I'd give it a 7. The aftertaste consists majorly of malt and coffee, but is subtle and enjoyable. This beer is on tap at the Marble Brewery all year long, but also can be found at various restaurants in town - I recently had it at Savoy up by Juan Tabo and Montgomery. They have recently made this a bomber that you can find any good liquor store in town (Quarters, Kelly's, Jubliation, etc...). Just waiting for it to get in six packs... Anyway, go get this beer!

Appearance - 5.0/5.0 - Dark expresso, foamy almond head

Smell - 4.0/5.0 - Subtle, but definite scents of coffee, malt and chocolate

Taste - 4.5/5.0 - Well blended malt and coffee flavors, with a definite sense of oats

Feel - 4.5/5.0 - Medium bodied, with good coverage of the mouth and enjoyable aftertaste

Drinkability - 4.5/5.0 - Most definitely -would have gotten a 5.0 if I could get it in six packs.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On the 9th day of Christmas, Santa Beer gave to me...

a really tasty IPA from Cal-eee-for-nee - Green Flash West Coast IPA.

I really enjoy San Diego. I hadn't been there since I was a kid (and there are some fantastic Seaworld pictures circa 1989 from trips to SD), but went a few years ago for an estate planning conference (Sexy taxes, right?). Great food, beautiful weather, and a Mecca of Beer. After having some of the samplings that San Diego has to offer, I am fully intending on planning a trip to visit breweries and see a Chargers game.

The West Coast IPA pours a dark golden honey color, with a decent head that hangs around a while. The beer smells absolutely delicious, with very fragrant citrusy hops. One of the things I love about IPAs is the bitterness that comes from all of the hops, which is very prevenlent in this beer. The sourness and hop flavor is very smooth, but blended expertly so that you can detect the various components in the beer. No aftertaste though, which surprised me. The tangy bitter flavor had a great mouth feel and heavier than I would have thought. I've had the Double/Imperial IPA that Green Flash offers and I actually preferred the standard IPA over the Imperial. Definitely would keep this one as a regular in the Beer Fridge, unfortunately can't get it in Albuquerque. Guess I'll just have to stock up in Phoenix!

Appearance - 3.5/5.0 - Dark golden, honey color - translucent with a decent head
Smell - 4.5/5.0 - Very fragrant, citrus, hops - delicious
Taste - 4.5/5.0 -Bitterness from the get go, sour malt and hop flavor is smooth but noticable; no aftertaste really; good balance of flavors
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - Smooth, tangy and bitter
Drinkability - 5.0/5.0 - If I could get this beer in ABQ regularly, I think it would be a regular in the fridge.

Monday, December 21, 2009

On the 8th day of Christmas, Santa Beer gave to me...

...a good reason to stay out of the cold and in the house with a nice cold one - Widmer Bros Brrr Seasonal Ale.

The brew pours a golden honey color, which is lighter than I expected. Would have thought the beer would have been a darker amber/red color. The head was a soft tan and disappeared after about ten minutes. Sweet, malt smell with some alcohol mixed in for good measure. The sweet malt and molasses flavor hits hard at first. Fortunately, not so sweet that you would think someone snuck a sugar packet into your brew, but sweet enough to add some flavor. Smooth flavor, which doesn't stick around for the party too long. The carbonation was pretty light for a medium bodied beer. I preferred this beer over the Pyramid Winter Warmer, which was a bit too thick for my taste. The 7.2% ABV makes this a potentially dangerous beer, as it goes down really quick and smooth. I think this would be a good brew to bring to a festive party where there is a mixed crowd - likely most folks would appreciate this beer.

Appearance - 3.0/5.0 - Honey colored, lighter than I expected, soft tan head
Smell -4.0/5.0 - Malt, sweetness and some alcohol
Taste - 4.0/5.0 - Smooth, malty, sweetness, molasses
Feel - 3.5/5.0 - Medium bodied; goes down smoothly.
Drinkability - 4.0/5.0 - Enjoyed this more than the Pyramid Winter Warmer; higher ABV makes it a dangerous holiday beer

Sunday, December 20, 2009

On the 7th day of Christmas, Santa Beer gave to me...

a real nice excuse to be by myself - Odell's Isolation Ale. My personality lends itself to being a social butterfly - give me an excuse to talk to someone and I will blah blah until the cows come home. However, if required to be left to my lonesome, I can see no better beer to be left with than this bad boy.

The Isolation Ale pours a copper brown, with a light off-white head. Lots of malt, nuttiness and caramel in the nose of this one - seems sorta like Christmas fruit cake. You can definitely taste these smells when you have a sip - the medium body of the ale has some sweetness near the tail end. The aftertaste is pretty minimal, but has some good malty-ness. Not terribly carbonated, which didn't fill me up a whole lot (like that...need more room for Christmas treats anyway). With a good 6.0% ABV, this is a very enjoyable beer that won't get you on the "naughty" list if you have more than two or three.

Appearance - 4.0/5.0 - Rich, copper coloring with a light head
Smell - 4.0/5.0 - Nuts, caramel & malt are the primary aromas - strong enough to notice without being overbearing
Taste - 4.5/5.0 - The malt is sturdy and flavorful, with a bit of sweetness at the end of each taste
Feel - 4.5/5.0 - Medium bodied, lighter carbonation, flavor fills the mouth and little aftertaste
Drinkability - 5.0/5.0 - An excellent winter ale

Saturday, December 19, 2009

On the 6th day of Christmas, Santa Beer gave to me...

a beer that is between a Stone and a Hard Place. I really like Stone beers as they are more often than not robust, flavorful and distinctive. If you have any of the Stone offerings, you're not likely to forget it easily or mistake it for another type of beer. Earlier in the year, I had picked up a bottle of the Russian Imperial Stout which I thought as the Smoked Porter. That beer was robust enough to grow you a full beard and chest o' hair. The Smoked Porter is a "lighter" offering, but still tasty.

Pouring like crude oil (something it shares with the Russian Imperial Stout), the Porter lacked much head and what it did have was kinda spotty as it defoamed. The brew smelled like roasted coffee that was tossed into a enclosure of pure smoke. The roasted malt is blended well enough with the chocolate, coffee and smokey taste to avoid it being too overpowering in any one area. I've seen some reviews of this beer that thought the smoke was a bit much, but I disagree. Good mouth coverage, with a sharp first taste (something I think is pretty common with Stone brews), then it ends with a sour bitterness in the aftertaste. Would have this beer again, but it does not stand out as so unique that this would be my ideal smoked porter.

Appearance - 3.5/5.0 - Really black, very little head that defoams very spotty
Smell - 4.5/5.0 - Coffee, smoke, nice blended malt
Taste - 4.0/5.0 - Bitter coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, some sourness
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - Good mouth coverage, sharp initial taste, slight bitterness in the aftertaste
Drinkability - 3.5/5.0 - Surely would have again, just wish I could it get in something other than a bomber.

Friday, December 18, 2009

On the 5th day of Christmas, Santa Beer gave to me...

a lovely reminder of childhood and proper winter penmanship - the Rogue Yellow Snow IPA.

I can think of a couple of times that I tried this as a kid, but FAR more attempts in recent memory (what that says about me, I'll leave that to your judgment). When I picked up this bomber, Tina just looked at it and said one word: "Gross." I can't tell if that's from the fact it was an IPA - a beer style that Tina can't stand; or the mental image from the name. Either way, I didn't have the same reservations and cracked this puppy (heh heh, get it? Puppy? Like the dog on the bottle? Whatever...) open.

The coloring of the beer was really fascinating - after I poured it all into a tall cold glass, the beer got progressively darker as it neared the top of the class. Perhaps this is to be a reflection of different types of "ink" used for said yellow snow. Whatever it was, it was nice to look at and the beer had a great frothy head, which I really appreciated. Grapefruit, potent (but not overwhelming) hops dominate the nose of this IPA. There are some other floral aromas, but they are much more subtle. The beer tasted deliciously smooth - the hops are prominent, but well blended as not to cause your toenails to curl. Expect some citrus and hints of sourness, as well. The body was lighter than I would expected. I would pick this one up again and I just saw growlers of this at Kelly's the other day, so go pick one up and share with the whole fam damnly.

Appearance - 5.0/5.0 - darkens as it goes up the glass - light golden to darker gold, just like if I wanted to write my name in the snow, frothy head
Smell - 4.0/5.0 - grapefruit, potent hops, but not overpoweringly so, lightly floral
Taste - 4.5/5.0 - really deliciously smooth hop, some citrus, mid sour - really tasty
Feel - 4.5/5.0- smooth, mild sour aftertaste
Drinkability - 4.5/5.0 - mmm mmm good - definitely would have again, very well blended

Thursday, December 17, 2009

On the 4th day of Christmas, Santa Beer gave to me...

a delicious amber from my home state of Washington, the Pike Pale Heirloom Amber Ale! Found in the Pinole BevMo in Cali-for-ni-aye, I was really excited about this beer as the Pike Street Brewery is my favorite place to go in Seattle.

The beer pours a very cloudy, opaque dark orange, with absolutely no head (bah!). Lots of sweet smells in this one, malt and apple cider being the majority of it. Fortunately, not a sweet-esy tasting beer with a sharp malt flavor being dominate. Also, you'll get some cider, caramel and a little sour aftertaste. The brew feels crispy with light carbination. You'll get the full flavor throughout your mouth too, which was nice. I think this is a really good fall beer and decent showing from an amber, but not my go-to amber.

Appearance- 3.5/5.0 - cloudy, opaque, dark orange, no head (boo)
Smell - 4.0/5.0 - sweet smell, malt, apple cider - 4.0
Taste- 3.0/5.0 - sharp malt taste, cider, caramel, sour aftertaste, smooth, hit of crisp sweetness at end
Feel- 3.0/5.0 - crispy, light carbonation, covers your mouth
Drinkability - 3.0/5.0 - very good fall beer, nice showing for an amber, but I like alaskan amber better

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On the 3rd day of Christmas, Santa Beer gave to me....

....Juxtaposition!! An act or instance of placing close together or side by side, esp. for comparison or contrast. In this case, Juxtaposition Black Pilsner is the combination of efforts from Stone, BrewDog and Cambridge Breweries to take a variety of talents and brew-skillz and generate a potent beer. I had never heard of this beer, but had luckily found it in the beer cooler at Papago (God, I love that place!).

I have to admit, that when I saw "pilsner" I figured that this beer would be a unique type of pilsner, but it would be a lighter brew. Obviously, the "black" part didn't kick in, but after I poured this beer into a pint glass, I realized that the bottle was not dark, but rather pretty clear. The beer was really that black.... The head was pretty tan, but dissipates pretty quickly. Lots of coffee, alcohol, malt and sour scents. The taste was really robust with a hint of sourness, a lot of sharp malt and acidic flavors. The initial taste will come off really potent, but then it smoth out pretty quickly and leaves a sour aftertaste. I would have this beer again, especially after my wife stole the pint glass from me and took the rest of it. At an astonishing 10% ABV, just be careful that you don't take this beer down too quickly.

Appearance - 5.0/5.0 - Surprisingly black, originally thought that the bottle was darker; nice tan head, but dissipats quickly.
Smell -4.5/5.0 - Coffee tones, alcohol, malt, sour scent
Taste - 4.5/5.0 - Sour, sharp malt taste, robust, acidic
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - Really potent in your mouth, but smooths out and leave a sour aftertaste
Drinkability - 4.5/5.0 - Very unique beer that I would enjoy having again

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On the 2nd day of Christmas, Santa Beer gave to me...

....a six pack of Full Sail Ltd #3!

Saw this bad boy at BevMo for like $5 a six pack, so just had to try it...gotta love a good value! Plus, hadn't really had much of Full Sail's beers, so figured now was as good of time as ever to experiment.

The Full Sail Ltd Series #3 is a pretty standard pilsner style beer. The beer is pretty lightly golden, bubbly (lots of carbonation) and clear, with a mild, crisp malt smell with a hint of sourness. The flavor was malty and clean, with a bit of sourness in it, likely from some of the hops they use. Thanks to the low IBUs (only 35), you don't get much bitterness on this beer. Aftertaste is nill, and the flavor comes and goes pretty quickly. That said, the beer goes down easy and was pretty refreshing. I'd consider this one again, especially if the price was $5 a six pack. It's got a nice 5.6% ABV too, so you can have a number of these without getting blitzed.

Appearance - 3.5/5.0 nice light golden color, clear
Smell- 3.0/5.0 - light crispy malt smell, light sour
Taste - 3.5/5.0 - cold sour malt, clean body, no aftertaste, flavor quick
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - went down easy, no aftertaste
Drinkability - 3.0/5.0 - sure, the price was right, good standard pilsner

Monday, December 14, 2009

On the 1st Day of Christmas, Santa Beer gave to me...

Odell Cutthroat Porter!

I was reading about this term called "Session Beer" and had seen it used a lot on Beer Advocate. Apparently, these are beers that you can multiple ones of without getting so sloppy that you end up making yourself look like a jerk. These beers cannot have ABV of anything over 5%. So, Bud Light would be a session beer. I personally would prefer this little gem, the Odell Cutthroat Porter.

The beer is a pitch black, thick brew. As it poured, it really stuck to the side of the glass, sorta like oil. You'll pick up a lot of coffee, roasted malt, some alcohol and dark chocolate in the nose. The brew has a really tasty, rich malt flavor with a robust coffee taste. I thought it was well blended and smooth, with a strong flavor through the entire taste. Definitely will be picking this one up again, and I'd recommend you give it a try if you happen to see it in the store!

Appearance - 4.5/5.0- pours thick, really dark, sticks to side of glass
Smell - 4.5/5.0 - coffee, alcohol, chocolate, roasted malt
Taste - 5.0/5.0 - rich malt flavor, with robust coffee taste, well blended
Feel - 5.0/5.0 - smooth, well blended, flavors strong throughout each taste
Drinkability - 5.0/5.0 - excellent beer if you just want to have a beer and not get lit after it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The 12 Days of Christmas

In the spirit of the Christmas season, you're getting the treat of a beer review a day until Christmas! So, don't get worried that you get one each day -- my liver is fine. These are reviews I already had written that I'm just going to post in quick succession!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Young and the Chocolate

I think that chocolate stouts are one of those things you either REALLY like or REALLY don't care for. Chocolate flavors are in other stouts, but are not so terrible pronounced that it deserves a spot in the name, let alone adding DOUBLE to that name. I have found myself on the "REALLY like" side of the spectrum, having found a true blessing in the Rogue Chocolate Stout a few months ago. I wanted to see if the Rogue was a ah...rogue and not characteristic of the style, so I picked up the Young's Luxury Chocolate Stout. I got two versions of the beer - the bomber that was carbonated and the can which contained the nitrous pill.

The color of the brew was a nice pitch black dark color, with a toasted tan creamy head that sticks around for the party that will be coming to your mouth. You could definitely smell the chocolate, but not doublely so. There were some good roasted coffee notes too. Upon getting around to actually taste the beer, the coffee flavor was far more pronounced than the chocolate was, which is fine, just a bit odd when it's a "double chocolate" stout. You'll get some toffee flavor in there as well. The beer was very smooth with little aftertaste. The nitrous version was far more smooth and also less filling (the joy of nitrous), so you feel like you could polish off the four pack of cans in one sitting. Either way, this isn't a heavy beer - don't expect to feel like you just drank a loaf of bread. I would surely get this beer again. Just a note, I found this at Kelly's for $10 a 4 pack of nitrous cans, but found the same 4 pack at Sunflower Market on San Mateo & Academy for only $8.50. No reason to pay $1.50 more for the same beer if you can avoid it.

Appearace - 4.5/5.0 - Nice, pitch black, dark color; toasted tan colored head with good retention
Smell - 4.0/5.0 - Roasted coffee, dark chocolate, not overly strong, but enough to get a nice aroma going
Taste - 4.0/5.0 - Roasted coffee, toffee, subtle chocolate (odd for a double chocolate stout). Smooth, but with a sharper taste at the end.
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - Smooth, little aftertaste, not a heavy beer, mid body for a dark beer
Drinkability - 4.0/5.0 - Indeed, if I'm in the mood for a chocolate stout, would definitely think about this one again - I preferred the nitrous cans over the bomber.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A dunkel from MUNICH!

I saw this little Leckerli (that's tasty treat in Deutsche) at Quarters as I stressed over a beer purchase. The problem with doing this blog is that I am trying to choose things I haven't had before, but that's increasingly difficult because there is so much to pick from. But, when I saw the Spaten Dunkel...from MUNICH!!!, I knew I had found my beer for the day (ah, and past that day...yeah...)

This dunkel beer was a opaque dark auburn color with minimal head. The beer was a bit sweeter than I expected, with some sweet malt, banana, hints of fruit scents and flavors. There was a nice woody/earthy taste at the end, which finished off the beer pretty well. The medium body was nice, smooth and not overly heavy or robust. It's a very fitting representation of a dunkel style beer and I would definitely pick it up again. This is very easy to drink, good ABV (5.50%) and flavorful. So, if you're in the market for a good German beer, give this one a try.

Appearance - 3.5/5.0 -dark auburn color, opaque but not cloudy, minimal head
Smell - 4.0/5.0 - sweet malt, banana, some fruit, very fitting for dunkel beer
Taste - 3.5/5.0 - malty, some banana flavor, medium body, solid malty aftertaste, woody taste at end
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - smooth, not overly robust, some aftertaste but flavorful
Drinkability - 4.5/5.0 - ach ja, baby. Definitely

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bam Biere Farmhouse Ale

When I was assembling a make-your-own six pack a bit ago, I saw this and just grabbed it. Not that I know anything about the Jolly Pumpkin brewery, but I'm a sucker for dogs. So, good job label got me.

The Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere Farmhouse Ale is the second of this style that I've tried (the first being the Liquid Sun Saison from Rock Bottom Brewing). Given the amount of darker beers that I've been enjoying lately, this was a refreshing dip into the lighter end of the beer pool. Upon pouring, I noticed a whole lot of head on this beer and a cloudy, light golden color. It seems a lot of beers I've tried have had pretty wimpy heads, so this was really refreshing. Expect some malt, spice, lemon and very fruity notes when you take a whiff. There is a slight sourness to the taste at first, but it mellows out to being a bit sweeter fruit flavor. The beer finishes smooth with a touch of bitterness. It was enjoyable, but nothing so enjoyable I'd make a particular effort to get it.

Appearance - 3.5/5.0 - really heady, cloudy light golden color
Smell - 4.0/5.0 - fruit aroma, malty, spicy, lemony
Taste - 3.0/5.0 - slighty sour, but mellow taste - nothing that sharp or anything
Feel - 3.5/5.0 - not aftertaste, smooth, some bitterness at end
Drinkability - 3.0/5.0 - ok, but nothing to write home about

Friday, November 27, 2009

Some dead guys are hanging out and Halloween was totally last month...

I have no legitimate reason for not trying this sucker sooner than I did. I've seen it all over the place and is the beer I had normally associated with Rogue Brewing (having until recently had not ever tasted ANY of their brews). In the spirit of the season, you could actually find Glow in the Dark growlers of this sucker at Jubliation and Kelly's.

Anyway, the Rogue Dead Guy Ale is a German Maibock - a beer known for a lighter coloring than a normal Bock, but with more of a pronounced hop flavor to it. Sounds tasty. The beer is a nice golden nectar color, with a bit of filtered cloudiness. The head is light and retains itself pretty well. As described in the beer style, you've got that citrus, tart hop aroma. The taste isn't overly bitter or sour. The beer has a nice medium body with flavors of citrus and sourness that hits the middle of your tongue nicely. Given it's "kinda a Bock", you still have malt, caramel and hints of sweetness built into the brew as well. This was a really smooth beer with an enjoyable aftertaste that fills your mouth. Would pick up this beer again - it's got some good hop profiles and would be, I think, ideal for someone that is getting introduced to beers with strong hop profiles, such as an IPA. It's a stronger beer too, about 6.5% ABV, which was enjoyable.

Appearance - 4.0/5.0 - nice cloudy (but filtered), golden nectar color, nice head - lighter and decent retention
Smell - 4.0/5.0 - tart, citrus hop aroma
Taste - 4.0/5.0 - not that sour/bitter, nice medium body, hint of citrus, sourness hits middle of tongue; smooth
Feel - 4.5/5.0 - really smooth, some aftertaste but enjoyable
Drinkability - 4.5/5.0 - would definitely drink again - very good pale ale - more "approachable" than an ipa

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holy Hop Head, Batman!

I used to really enjoy watching that old Batman show. I remember my grandparents getting me the movie, which had the Penguin (Burgess Meredith at his very best), Joker, Riddler and Lee Meriweather Catwoman (I personally prefer Eartha Kitt, but that's me) had this whole scheme where they dehydrated their goons (who were actually labeled Goon #1, Goon #2, Goon #3...) and somehow they landed in the batcave and were rehydrated. And there was Bat-Shark Repellant. Don't leave home without it. Oh, the 60s....

But really what we're here to talk about is some beer. Specifically, the Green Flash Brewing Hop Head Red Ale. This beer looked intriguing before I even opened it, as it was a red ale that was hoppy. Given it came from Green Flash, I figured it was going to be pretty good. The brew pours a sturdy red, darker than most red ales you'll come across, and a nice, foamy auburn head. The aroma is a nice blend of hop and malt. Not as robust and hoppy as you'd expect in an IPA, but definitely hop-worthy and fragrant. The first taste was where I really really enjoyed the beer - citrus hoppiness, but not overly bitter; malty, but not what you'd expect in a red. Good body, not heavy at all. The bitterness of the hops mixed with the smoothness of the red made for an excellent combination. I would definitely get this beer again, since it's an awesome blend of two styles I really enjoy. It's got a nice 6.4% ABV, so not too strong, not too wimpy.

Appearance - 4.0/5.0 - sturdy red, darker than normal red, auburn head
Smell - 4.0/5.0 - a nice blend of hop and malt, not overly strong but fragrant
Taste - 4.5/5.0 - definitely hoppy, but not overly bitter, malt flavor there - medium body, flavors of an IPA, but definitely a red
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - bitterness of ipa with smoothness of red, really good, lingering bitterness
Drinkability - 4.5/5.0 - would definitely have again, a good alternative to an straight IPA

Monday, November 23, 2009


Thanks to the Albuquerque Beer Geek who took this picture...I couldn't find something better, so go check out his website and give him some credit for being a beer bad ass. I have seen this at Quarters, Jubliation, etc... for a while and hadn't bought it, until Jeff Taylor (brewer at Marble - great guy) told me that if you don't get it now, you ain't gonna get it. Saw it at Quarters and grabbed it while I could.

This beer poured a soft, cloudy orange with a nice foamy white head. It just looked really tasty, which was only enhanced with the lovely fruity smell. Lots of citrus, orange, spice...not overly strong, but just smelt delicious. You get all of these tastes too - lots of orange, citrus, coriander, spice. Marble blended all of these flavors extremely well and made a smooth brew in the process. The flavor fills your mouth and you get a nice sharp crispness at first taste. Not terribly carbonated, so you're not going to get really bloated. The aftertaste had some good malt flavor to it and I enjoy it sticking around for a bit. Definitely a beer I'd get again, just wish they had it on tap all of the time!!!

Appearance - 4.5/5.0 - Soft orange, cloudy, nice foamy head
Smell - 4.5/5.0 - Fruity, orange, citrus, spice. Nothing overly strong, but enjoyable.
Taste - 5.0/5.0 - Really smooth citrus flavor, good Belgian representation, orange, spice, coriander.
Feel - 4.5/5.0 - Smooth with good mouth coverage; Not overly carbonated with a sharp crispness at the front; malt aftertaste
Drinkability - 4.5/5.0 - Hmmm hmmm good. Would definitely get this one again

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The password is "Joe sent me"

I had an alternate title for this one, like "I like it when you call me Double Daddy..." I went the Speakeasy route instead. Anyway, today's brew is the Speakeasy Double Daddy Imperial IPA. Found this one in the cooler at Papago Brewing, where I included it in my mix-a-six-pack. The brewery name stood out to me, but then I noticed the really high 9.5% ABV and figured it wouldn't hurt to try.

The beer looked as expected - a clean, golden amber color with a decent head. The smell was a light citrus floral aroma, with a decent hoppy scent to it, but nothing overpowering. I do like my IPAs was a lot of hop though... The taste was also subdued. It was mellow with a medium thickness, but bitterness but not enough to really stand out. Aftertaste was crisp with lingering citrus flavor. Not a lot of carbonation either, so didn't fill you up. The beer did go down pretty smooth, which was appreciated. This isn't a beer I would likely get a lot of, as I like my IPAs much more characteristic than this beer. Also, the high alcohol content would get me into some trouble.

Appearance - clean, golden amber - light head - 3.0
Smell - 3.5 - nice citrusly floral hop aroma - not overpowering
Taste - 3.5 - nice mellow taste, bitterness there but subdued
Feel - 4.0 - smooth and little aftertaste; crisp, cirtus aftertaste
Drinkability - 3.0 - dangerous beer because of high alcohol content; being a smoother beer, these would go down fast without knowing it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Elsie's Irish Cream Milk Stout

There is a very large one of these monks when you enter Papago Brewing in Scottsdale. Two of them in fact.

Anyway, today's feature is Elsie's Irish Cream Milk Stout. This beer just sounded tasty and it definitely was. The beer is dark with a rich chocolate colored head, which did dissipate pretty quickly. Lots of roasted coffee and chocolate aromas to be found. The beer's name is fitting as it has a milky consistency, lacking a bit of the thickness I come to expect with a stout. The coffee and dark chocolate flavors blend well with the malt. It's not really that sweet, which is good. You'll get a little bit of bitterness at first, but then it mellows out pretty quickly. No aftertaste to speak of...the beer sorta "cleans" itself and leaves a fresh palate. A pretty solid beer, so if you like stouts, I would suggest you give it a try!

Appearance - 4.5/5.0 - dark with chocolate colored head, head lost quickly
Smell- 4.0/5.0 - rich coffee and chocolate aromas
Taste - 4.0/5.0 - roasted coffee and malt flavor, hint of chocolate, more bitter up front then mellows out, beer isn't as thick as I would expect with the style
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - Good mouth feel, no funny aftertaste - sorta cleans your mouth after itself
Drinkability - 4.0/5.0 - Solid beer

Sunday, November 15, 2009

When dealing with Liquid Sun, shoot for SPF 2000

Got word that I should check out the Rock Bottom Brewery out in Phoenix. Checked it on-line and the food looked good and the beer selection offered a nice variety. Now, you can tell this joint is a part of a chain when you first walk in, mostly because things seemed too...polished. Sorta as if a large team of highly paid marketing professionals have focused grouped the hell out of this place. This doesn't count against Rock Bottom, but don't expect that this is a Mom & Pop joint.

Anyway, I got some chili as it sounded good and got the Liquid Sun Saison, as I don't recall ever having a Saison style beer before. Not knowing a lot about the style, I immediately thought of a Belgian style brew. The amber-esqe color was nice to look at, but it lacked any head to speak of. There was mostly fruit aromas in this beer, primarily orange and citrus. The taste was similar - fruity citrus, with orange, grapefruit and spice. Not overly powerful, which was refreshing. The mellowness felt good, especially after sitting through 8 hours of training that zonked out my mind. It was a very enjoyable beer and one that I would likely pick up again. The 5.2% ABV makes it a good session beer (i.e. a beer you could have a few of in a single session without getting a little too schnakered for your own good).

Appearance - 3.5/5.0 - No head with a nice amber-esqe color
Smell - 3.5/5.0 - Slightly fruity smell, orange, citrus, hint of malt
Taste - 4.0/5.0 - Distinctly Belgian taste with the spice, orange, grapefruit
Feel - 4.5/5.0 - Mellow, but crisp
Drinkability - 4.0/5.0 - Good beer; flavorful and very enjoyable.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

60 Minutes equals a Tasty Beer

I had the 90 Minute IPA at the Yardhouse a while ago and never had a chance to try its sister brews, the 60 Minute IPA and the 120 Minute IPA. I would expect them to both be tasty and finally picked up the 60 Minute at Papago Brewing tonight. Almost went for the 120 Minute, but I couldn't justify a $8.80 12 oz. beer...just couldn't do it.

The beer poured a light golden color with a stout white foamy head, which really stuck around. You get the lovely floral citrus boutique that you would expect from an IPA. The beer isn't terribly bitter, but does have some bitterness to it. The hops are still there, just not overly pronounced. The beer feels really smooth and well blended, which I come to expect from Dogfish Head brews. If I could get this in town, I would get it again. This is a high quality IPA that I would definitely use to introduce folks to the style.

Appearance - 4.0/5.0 - Light golden color, good white foamy head that stuck around for a bit.
Smell - 4.5/5.0 - Lovely citrus, floral boutique
Taste - 4.0/5.0 - Enough bitterness to be in line with the style, but not so much to knock your socks off. A good representation of the style.
Feel -4.5/5.0 - Smooth, well blended. Very little aftertaste
Drinkability - 4.5/5.0 - If I could get it in Albuquerque, would be a regular purchase.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rogue: Patron Saint of Beers

Upon my last trip to ol' Papago Brewing, I ended up purchasing a number of red/IPA hybrid beers completely on accident. I could potentially get into a debate on the ethics of playing God with two such wonderful types of beers, but I'm going to just embrace the tastiness that I would expect would happen with the blending of these two styles.

The Rogue Dry Hopped St. Rogue Red Ale is an interesting blend of a hoppy pale ale with a red ale. The dark red, lightly cloudy beer has a nice foamy head and a lightly floral hop smell mixed with the malt. The hops definitely take front stage, but you can get the smell of both. The taste had some bitterness, but not as pronounced as what you'd expect in an IPA or other pale ale. The floral sourness hits ya later into each sip, but it's very enjoyable and good for a mixed audience (i.e. a group that doesn't want a full-blown IPA, but wants a bit more than a mid-range beer). The beer was pretty smooth and had a subdued, but flavorful aftertaste. I really enjoyed the blend of hops and the style of the red. A great compromise to having an IPA or a red.

Appearance - 4.0/5.0 - dark red, cloudy, nice foamy head
Smell - 4.5/5.0 - lightly floral hop mixed with malty, hops more pronounced
Taste - 4.0/5.0 - medium bitterness but nice - less hoppy than ipa but like it, enjoy the sourness, hit of floral
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - smooth, aftertaste is subdued but flavorful,
Drinkability - 4.5/5.0 - really enjoy the blend of hops and red ale, good for when you want the hop flavor without the ipa

Sunday, November 8, 2009

You old Horn Dog...

I have really enjoyed the various beers that Flying Dog puts out. I was a bit irritated when they moved the brewery to Maryland, but oh well - just means I have to make a longer trip to visit. I think I have tried almost all of their standard varieties, but not a lot of their speciality beers, as we don't get a whole lot of them in Albuquerque. Fortunately, Phoenix is just a few hours away and they have get WAY more beers than we do. So, on a recent trip out there, I stumbled upon the Flying Dog Horn Dog Barley Wine. I think I've had one or two barley wines before this one, so was looking forward to seeing how this one compared to the others I've tried. I must say, I was pretty pleased.

The beer looks absolutely beautiful from the first pour and giving it a bit to settle. There is a really rich rubycolor with a light head. The coloring was really unique and pretty mesmerizing. The fruity aroma was apparent, but not overly sweet smelling. There was some good malt in there too which was a nice addition. The malt was much more evident in the taste - a rich malt flavor that sticks around a bit. I got some licorish, chocolate, caramel, cherry, alcohol, ... The flavor builds as it goes, so the full flavor profile will take a little bit to kick in. The beer is very smooth and velvety, with an enjoyable aftertaste. Not terribly carbonated, but that added to the smoothness. The 10.4% ABV keeps this from being a regular beer, but it was enjoyable for the occassional brew.

Appearance - 4.5/5.0 - beautiful rich brown color, light head, but color is awesome
Smell - 3.0/5.0 - fruity but not overly so, little malt, ok, but nothing special
Taste - 4.0/5.0 - rich malt flavor, sticks around a bit, licoricsh, little chocolate, full flavor takes a bit to kick in
Feel - 4.5/5.0 - smooth and velvety, some aftertaste but enjoyable
Drinkability - 4.0/5.0 - not regularly otherwise I'd be an alcoholic, would definitely have again though

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Raisin Denter

Dogfish Head Brewing puts out some...interesting beers. I really enjoy their 60 and 90 Minute IPAs, but I've heard of some of their brews where they use some gold dust or something. I saw this one at BevMo! and figured, it can't possibly be awful, so why not?

The Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre pours really well - a nice rich mahogony/amber color. Expect some nice oaky, malt aroma with a hint of sweetness. Nothing that special, but good. The taste was different too - you definitely had a smooth roasted malt flavor, with this hint of sweet raisin and banana. Definitely a punch of alcohol in the taste too, so take that or leave it, it's what you're going to get. The aftertaste has more malt to it, which was nice. A good beer, but not one I'd probably go and get a lot, given it's pretty pricy (I think it was $10 a six pack).

Appearance - 4.5/5.0 - nice rich mahogony color, amber
Smell -3.0/5.0 - oaky malt smell - nothing that special about the aroma
Taste - 3.5/5.0 - smooth, malt, raisin, banana, little bit of roasted flavor, crisp, aftertaste is malty and very nice; lots of alcohol taste (a bit overpowering)
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - aftertaste is very refreshing and malty, - 4.0
Drinkability - 3.5/5.0 - very good beer, but maybe not what I would spend 10 bucks on regularally

Monday, November 2, 2009

Invasion of the Belgians Part Uno

Arizona is awesome - it's one of my favorite places to just get out of town and relax. Plus, the beer distribution there is intensely better than in New Mexico. I went over to Papago Brewing Co. and had a couple beers and as I was getting ready to leave, the waitress told me to check out the beer coolers. They offer a deal where you can get a mix-and-match six-pack for $8.50 of all sorts of different types of beers. I can't find too many Great Divide beers in the Burque, so this Belgian-style IPA sounded tasty.

At first glance, the Belgica Belgian-Style IPA had a decent (expected) golden color with a light cloudiness to it. The head was ok - sticking around for a little bit. The aroma was more subdued than I probably would like or would have expected with a beer that was a IPA and Belgian. There was some flowery scents, but it seemed more malty than hoppy (like an IPA) or spicy (like a Belgian beer). Well, the flavor was where you could get the unique flavor blend. There was definite spicy and citrus - lemon, orange, clove and honey. The hop and bitterness that is characteristic of an IPA was there too. It seemed like the beer would float between being an Belgian beer to an IPA as the beer worked through the flavors. It was a different type of beer - would have it again, but not one I'd keep constantly stocked.

Appearance - 3.5/5.0 - slightly cloudy, good head retention, golden color
Smell - 3.0/5.0 - hop aroma is subdued, a little flowery but not much; more malty than anything
Taste - 4.5/5.0 - spicy and malty - harmonious blend of the two styles; very complementary - got the different spices you'd expect in a belgian beer but also bitterness and sharp taste of an ipa
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - Lingers for a bit as it works through the different styles of beers
Drinkability- 3.5/5.0 - Different type of taste which is refreshing; sorta wish the aroma was there too

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale

Like most beers that I have tried since starting this little venture, I have seen the Samuel Smith's brand a lot. Quarters, Jubliation, Kelly's, at brewpubs, etc... Just never thought about trying it. So, in the spirit of experimentation, I figured the Nut Brown Ale would be a nice middle ground to see whether I like the brewery or not. Well, I'm a lookin'...and I'm a likin'.

For a brown, I was expecting a bit of a darker color than the rich amber that I go. Fortunately, the beer got much better as I took in the nice malty and nut aroma, then took a sip. The malt and nutty taste was the key flavors, with a hint of some fruity sweetness that wasn't overpowering, but added some distinction to the brew. There was a mild aftertaste, but very clean and crisp. Would definitely have again and will be featuring another brand of the Samuel Smith's line later on.

Appearance - 3.5/5.0 - Lighter than I expected; more amber in color than brown - good head that sticks around
Smell - 4.0/5.0 - malty and nutty aroma; flavorful
Taste -4.5/5.0 - walnut, really malty, nutty taste, hint of fruit at beginning; "woody" - distinctive flavor without being overpowering - very flavorful
Feel - 4.5/5.0 - mild aftertaste, but good. Clean and crisp taste;
Drinkability - 4.5/5.0 - Very good taste and would definitely try something else from the brand

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 Paradise Porter

The Diamond Bear Paradise Porter came to me via my last Beer of the Month Club membership. As I had avoided darker beers in the past, I was really pleased I ended up with a porter in this shipment. And when I say dark, the Paradise Porter is DARK.

Outside being extraordinarily black, the porter's tan head is there, but then gone pretty quick. The scents are there though - oaty, malty alcohol aromas, with some bitter coffee and chocolate mixed in there. The flavor is interesting, as it starts off pretty mild and builds into a sharper biter taste. Nothing overpowering, but I liked the build up. Any aftertaste is there and gone before you really notice it. A strong showing from Diamond Bear - up there with some great porters I've had.

Appearance - 3.5/5.0 - Really pitch black, but the head is a little wimpy.
Smell - 3.5/5.0 - Some bitter coffee and chocolate scents; interesting, but nothing outside of what you'd expect with this type of beer.
Taste -4.0/5.0 - Very flavorful and gradually builds up to the sharper tastes.
Feel - 4.5/5.0 - I really enjoyed the flavor build up, which allowed the individual flavors to be more pronounced and noticiable.
Drinkability - 3.5/5.0 - While a good beer, nothing was that exceptional that I'd go out of my way to get this beer.

Friday, October 23, 2009

He exists - Hopsquatch!!!

I had heard about this speciality beer before, but apparently my camera skills sucked and never managed to get proof that it existed. Fortunately, I layed in wait long enough at Four Peaks to get served a nice little goblet of Hopsquatch, their hoppy barleywine. I think this is officially the first barleywine that I have ever had - and I was very impressed.

The Hopsquatch was pretty cloudy, which I liked. There was a nice head, but it sorta disappeared quickly. The brew had a really nice floral, fragrant aroma with some citrus. I'm sure I'm missing the elegant details, but whatever it was, smelled REALLY good. The taste is the best part of the beer - exceptionally smooth and well blended. Even though this is a hoppy beer, you wouldn't really know given how masterfully blended it was. I would take this beer anytime - I would just need to be really careful as it had 11.5% ABV! Holy crap!

Appearance - 4.0/5.0 - A nice cloudy rust color; just disappointed with quickly dissipating head
Smell - 4.0/5.0 - An awesome floral bouquet of smells - very nice
Taste -5.0/5.0 - Extremely smooth, flavorful and balanced. Just a really great tasting beer with all of the elements that you'd expect in an IPA, but nothing so strong as to offend.
Feel - 5.0/5.0 - A perfect blend and smoothness that just made the mouth happy.
Drinkability - 5.0/5.0 - Would drink again, just need to be careful due to the high alcohol content!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Spaten Oktoberfest, baby!

One of these days I'm going to go to Germany during Oktoberfest. Unfortunately, my life is dictated by an October 15th deadline, so maybe I just need to go on the 16th. Anyway, I've had a few Spaten beers and figured if there was one that they would get right, it would be the Oktoberfest one.

I had this beer twice - Zinc down in Nob Hill and at Fat Squirrel in Rio Rancho. Be warned - the Zinc one wasn't all that good. Go for Fat Squirrel.

This beer really hit the spot with some Jagersnitzel. The light orange color was appropriate for the season. There is some definite malt flavor and smell in here. The brew has a little bit of an apple cider crispness to it, which was nice. A pretty smooth beer, can't say that I noticed any aftertaste at all. If you were having a Oktoberfest (or any fiesta for that matter), this beer would likely go over very well with a mixed crowd.

Appearance - 3.0/5.0 - light pumpkin color (orange, with hint of red) transparent
Smell - 3.5/5.0 - malty with sweet afterscent, almost apple cider-esqe, little head
Taste - 4.0/5.0 - malt with bit of sweetness, really smooth with little aftertaste, bready
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - extremely smooth, little to no aftertaste
Drinkability - 3.5/5.0 - would be good for mixed crowd, balanced and enjoyable

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Gotta love October - fall starts kicking in, leaves turn color, and fall beers come out for some tastiness. In the spirit of the season, I'm trying to find pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers to expose folks to. This episode's featured beer is the Shipyard Brewing Pumpkinhead. Found this beer at the BevMo! in Scottsdale, but I believe you can get it here in the Burque at Quarters, Kelly's, etc...

The beer looks like it is supposed to - light orange color. Not really any head and slightly opaque. The smell gives it away, offering a lot of spice, clove and pumpkin pie scents. The taste is a strong pumpkin and "fall" flavor. Not overly sweet, but warm like if you drank a pumpkin pie. The brew is smooth and flavorful with a sharp malt pumpkin taste at the end. The beer is way more pumpkiny than the Dogfish Head Punkin beer , which got the fall flavors in without the overt pumpkinness. I would have this beer again, but the pumpkin thing is a fall deal even if I could get it the rest of the year, I'd pass.

Appearance - 3.0/5.0 - light orange color, no head, slightly opaque
Smell - 3.5/5.0 - spice, clove, pumpkin pie - strong pumpkin aroma than punkin
Taste - 3.0/5.0 - strong pumpkin flavor, not overly sweet but "warm" like drinking pumpkin pie, smooth, malt pumpkin taste at end
Feel - 3.5/5.0 - smooth, no aftertaste, flavor is good but definitely pumpkiny
Drinkability - 3.0/5.0 - good for the time of year, but the pumpkin thing is more than I'd like normally

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mirror Mirror at the Bar...

I have heard a lot about this Deschutes Brewery - sounds like my last name (Deshayes), which I found out means trash in French. Screw you Frenchie. Anyway, I saw this was on tap and figured I better try it and see what the fuss was about.

The general appearance of the beer was pretty appropriate given that it was a pale ale and was pretty nicely golden. The head was light and dissipated quickly. I didn't get a lot of aroma from the beer, which was sad, as I like the scents that pale ales and IPAs have. Fortunately, the beer made up for the lack of smell with some great flavor - hops, bitterness, a bit of floral citrus. At the same time, the beer was very smooth, so nothing that would drastically piss off anyone. A good overall beer that I would definitely have again.

Appearance - 3.5/5.0 - A golden color with light head
Smell - 3.0/5.0 - Really light, which I was surprised with given it was a pale ale
Taste -4.0/5.0 - A really strong potent hop flavor with appropriate bitterness. Smooth at the same time.
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - Smooth and bitter at the same time and felt good in the mouth. No overkill.
Drinkability - 4.5/5.0 - A good solid beer that I would definitely get again.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Key West Golden Lager - fresh from Flo-rida

The Key West Golden Lager was one of the beers I got in my last beer of the month club shipments. I was curious about this one, as most of the beers I have gotten have been IPAs, Witbiers or Stouts. So, getting a lighter beer was a surprising change. As I can imagine, this beer does well in Florida, where it's hot and everyone sweats all their fluids out due to the humidity.

This beer was good - I had just gotten home from the gym and was really hot and wanted to play a video game. As everyone knows, video games are much better with beer. The Golden Lager was really refreshing and crisp. Unfortunately, I think it lacked a lot of distinctive characteristics, be it flavor, scent, etc... - it was a much better form of a Miller or Budweiser type beer. Personally would probably not get it again, just cause it was ok...

Look - 3.0/5.0 - Really light, golden color - clear - head retains pretty well, light white head
Taste - 3.0/5.0 - cold, sour bitter malt/hop; clean, little aftertaste, some sweetness too
Smell - 3.0/5.0 - sharp ale scent, malty, hint of sour
Feel - 3.5/5.0 - nice no aftertaste, fresh, most of the flavor in middle back of tongue
Drinkability - 3.0/5.0 - refreshing, specially after a workout - not a lot going on with it - good for someone who likes lighter beers but doesn't want Miller or Bud

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I have no idea how to pronounce anything in this beer, but Chimay

Just FYI, I don't own a pineapple table cloth. I stole this image from the internets, as my camera phone didn't produce a quality image. Anyway, I got this Chimay Ale Peres Trappistes Premiere bomber as a nice gift for watching our buddy Henry (a poodle) for the weekend. I've seen Chimay around town, but haven't had a good time to try it until now!

This beer just looked pretty as I poured it. A really nice rich brown color and nutty malt aroma. The head was exceptionally foamy, but not in a bad way. The taste was really spicy, but had a champagne like taste to it with a bitter finish. As you'd expect with champagne, this beer had a sharpness to it and the carbination was a bit bubbly. There was some sweetness too, but it was not overpowering. I'd get this beer again for a special occasion.

In Mother Russia, beer flows through their veins like blood and vodka.

Happy October 15th! For those who didn't catch the tax bug, today is the final day of filing a 2008 tax return timely. So, I brought my celebratory beer to the office and sat at my desk to enjoy it with all of the returns out the door. I was going to try and get the Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous bomber, but couldn't find it at Quarters and got the Stone Imperial Russian Stout instead.

This beer pours thick and dark, almost like an oil spill. The bottle even compares this beer to "Siberian crude." The mocha-tinted head foamed up nice too, then settled after a little bit. When I poured it, I could get a hint of the scent, which is a really REALLY strong alcohol smell with some coffee thrown in for good measure. This is a fitting "Russian" beer... The flavor has nice roasted malt flavor, some molasses, some alcohol bite to it. I'm sure there are other flavors in there too, but it's kinda murky with this beer and hard to detect specific tastes. Extremely smooth though, with just a hint of sour aftertaste. I would definitely have this one again...but only one at a time because this sucker has a 10.5% ABV.

Appearance - 5.0/5.0 - A thick black oily brew with a nice colored head
Smell - 4.0/5.0 - Strong malty aroma, that I could pick up about 2 feet away.
Taste - 4.5/5.0 - Nice roasted malt flavor, some molasses, some alcohol bite; extremely smooth though
Feel - 4.5/5.0 - Very smooth beer with a good mouth feel and little aftertaste
Drinkability - 4.5/5.0 - Surely, but only one at a time! This is a great example of an intense stout that was really well made.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Know Your Beer - Märzen/Oktoberfest

Ach ja, baby! Oktoberfest time! In the spirit of this annual goodness, let's take a look at the beer that is best associated with the festival of brews - the Märzen/Oktoberfest style.

Back in the old days, when you would walk uphill, both ways, in the snow, it was nigh impossible to brew beer in the summer months because there wasn't really a way to keep it cool. As such, beers were brewed in March (hey, that sounds very similar to Märzen...) and stored in caves that were surrounded by ice until about September.

This lager is a full bodied, rich, malty beer. Depending on where the beer is from, you may get some different flavor profiles. Austrian/German beers will be more malty and lighter in color (almost pale ale coloring). North American Marzens will be a bit hoppy and bitter, but not aggresively so. Coloring may be a bit darker as well.

This style will range from 4% - 7% ABV, with most falling near mid 5%...

There are all sorts of these beers around the place - Spaten Oktoberfest, Flying Dog Dogtoberfest, Paulaner München Märzen, Gordon Biersch Märzen, Left Hand Oktoberfest Märzen and Sam Adams Octoberfest. Some of Albuquerque and Santa Fe's breweries do Oktoberfest beers.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dogtoberfest - Not just for pups

Dogtoberfest isn't just a nice fall day at the Deshayes house, although it could easily be. No, this is Flying Dog Brewery's fall seasonal, celebrating the German tradition of fat guys in lederhosen drinking bier with their twisted dachshund. Readers of this here blog know I do enjoy the Flying Dogs beers, so I figured this one would work just fine.

This Marzen style beer looked nice from the first pour, with a clear auburn rust color and light head. The aroma of malt and caramel were enjoyable, and fit well with the malty, caramel and light nuttiness taste. The beer was smooth, with a sharpness at the end and a little bit of slightly sweet aftertaste. A good representation of the style, the Dogtoberfest was a solid brew to have in those cooler months.

Appearance - 4.0/5.0 - Clear anburn rust color
Smell - 3.5/5.0 - light malt, caramel
Taste - 3.5/5.0 - Malty, caramel, light nuttiness, hint of sweetness
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - Smooth, with sharpness at the end, little aftertaste
Drinkability - 3.5/5.0 - Good beer, especially for October/cooler temps

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ah, little late for a summer beer, but it was still good.

It's October and I just had a summer beer...didn't slip into a time warp that I know of. Anyway, found this beer in one of the mix six packs I got in September, so figured probably good to get it posted before Christmas or something.

Breckenridge beers work for me - while they are not all fantastic, they are generally good and if offered one, I'd be happy to accept it. The Breckenridge Summerbright Ale is a pretty standard summer beer - light, little fruity, little spicy, malty and refreshing. I was disappointed with the smell of the beer, which was lackluster...a lightly fruity aroma, but that's about it. The taste was really good for taking care of you on a hot day. However, the flavor wasn't really there as much I would care for and would not be a beer I'd regularly go for.

Appearance - 3.5/5.0 - light yellow golden color, head dissipates quickly
Smell - 2.5/5.0 - light fruity aroma, otherwise pretty boring.
Taste - 3.0/5.0 - light "summer" type beer, prob good if really hot, some malt crispness
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - smooth, light, refreshing
Drinkability - 2.5/5.0 - Would have again, if it was hot, but not enough flavor make this a go-to beer

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Trabeck, you Rogue...

After having a few Rogue beers in San Francisco and in the Burque, I had gained a real appreciation for this brewery. Now, in ABQ, these six packs ain't cheap (I think this one was $8.99/six pack), but they are tasty.

The beer was pretty dark - perhaps not as pitch black as the Chocolate Stout, but still pretty opaque. The head (as see in el picturo) has some color to it, which was nice. Unfortunately, the head disappeared pretty quick and that gave me a bit of sad face. The smell was great - you can really get the roasted malt and oat aroma, with a hint of coffee in there. I enjoyed the various flavors this beer had, which included malt, coffee and a bit of sharp alcohol. The flavor took a bit to kick don't expect a real burst of flavor immediately. When the taste comes though, it's really smooth and subdued - no punch in the face here. I really enjoyed the flavor profile of the beer - I would definitely get it again and would rank it above the Breckenridge Vanilla Porter, as the coffee seems to blend better with the beer than the vanilla does.

Appearance - 4.0/5.0 - Nice and dark with a great ebony head, which unfortunately disappeared a bit quickly.
Scent -4.5/5.0 - A wonderful blend of coffee, roasted oats and malt.
Taste - 4.0/5.0 - A smooth flavor with a blend of different tastes. The flavor takes a bit to kick in, but not overwhelming when it does.
Feel -4.5/5.0 - Smooth with a good lingering flavor, but no bite.
Drinkability - 4.5/5.0 - Would definitely drink again, put it above a number of other porters/stouts I've had.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Do you feel lucky, Punk(in)?

In the honor of the month, I figured it would be fun to try out a few seasonal brews that scream October (scream...get it? Halloween? Whatever...). During October, expect to see some Oktoberfest type feers, some pumpkin beers, etc... It's all about the orange, baby.

And the first beer that is getting this oh-so-special treatment is the Dogfish Head Punkin Ale. Dogfish Head Brewing is known for their unique takes on beer, including an uber-peach ale, some potent IPAs and this little gem, the Punkin Ale. You'll also know that you can't get them in New Mexico (wha wha.....), but fortunately Phoenix is only about 6 hours away and Arizona gets the Dogfish Head beers.

At first glance, this beer has a nice rich amber/pumpkin color, with a little bit of heat doesn't stick around all that long. Lots of "fall" smells too - nutmeg, cinnamon, a little sweetness and, obviously, pumpkin. The Punkin Ale is definitely a pumpkin beer, but it's not so pumpkin that you feel like someone shoved a pumpkin pie in your face or crushed a jack o' lantern over your head. The brew tastes flavorful and spicy, but not over the top where it could offend. It goes down really smooth and you get a moderate malt and spice aftertaste to finish off the beer. The biggest downfall of this beer is the price - $10.00 for a 4 pack...of course, that's the way Dogfish Head rolls.

Appearance - 3.5/5.0 - amber pumpkin color, some head but dissipated quickly
Smell -4.5/5.0 - great smell - pumpkin , nutmeg, cinnamon, little sweetness
Taste - 4.5/5.0 - delicious, not overly pumpkiny, but has the spice and malt with that autumn flavor profile
Feel - 4.5/5.0 - smooth, with a solid malt and spicy aftertaste
Drinkability - 4.0/5.0 - definitely would have again! Really great beer, price is higher than I'd like, but a small complaint.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dirty Dirty Girl

On the way up to Panderies a little bit ago, we stopped over at Santa Fe Brewing to fill up one of the numerous growlers that we had. I had not actually been to the brewery itself, having just tasted the Santa Fe Brewing beers from whatever has been bottled for distribution. When I bellied up to the bar and noticed that there was a beer I hadn't seen before, I figured it was worth a try.

The Santa Fe Brewing Dirty Blonde was an interesting beer - like you'd expect out of a blonde, it was a pretty light beer and took a number of them to change a light blub. Everything about this beer was pretty light - light, crisp malt scent; light fruity taste; light body. Nothing really stood out about this beer and while that is ok with type of beer, I don't care for "eh". I like beers that have characteristic identity, be it flavor, scent, appearance, whatever.

Now before I get any judgments (and in the immortal words of Huey Louis, "eff you for judging"), I did not have any glass containers in my travel trailer. So, the plastic wine glass with a bunch of grapes on it was going to suffice. Really classes up the beer, don't ya think? Actually, we threw some of the Dirty Blonde into some OJ and made a pretty tasty Brass Monkey.

Appearance - 3.0/5.0 - Light golden as expected, but nothing that distinct about it.
Scent - 3.0/5.0 - Light fruity aroma, but not much else.
Taste - 3.0/5.0 - Crisp, freshing taste, but not much beyond that. Pretty much an average tasting beer.
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - Refreshing, which was really nice. Even though nothing distinctive about it, did not leave any weird aftertaste or anything.
Drinkability - 2.5/5.0 - While this was a good enough beer, I wouldn't order it again given the choice. However, would mix it in orange juice....

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Millstream Brewing Colony Oatmeal Stout

This beer came as part of one of Tina's fantastic beer ofthe month club shipments. When this showed up at the office (and boy, I do enjoy getting beer and wine shipped to the office...really brightens up the day), I was really looking forward to trying some different types of beers, especially of the darker variety. The Millstream Brewing Colony Oatmeal Stout was a good representation of an oatmeal stout. Expect a lot of roasted malt and oat scents and flavor, with some coffee taste included. The color is extremely dark, not allowing a single bit of light through the glass. This beer had a distinctive aftertaste - mostly of alcohol and coffee (which in my book, is a great combo). The flavor really hits in the back of your mouth and throat, making it stick around with each sip.
Appearance - 3.5/5.0 - I really enjoyed the darkness of the beer - the head was ok, but nothing to write home about.
Scent - 3.5/5.0 - Lots of strong coffee, malt and alcohol aroma. While enjoyable, could have been blended better.
Taste - 3.5/5.0 - Strong flavor profile, with lots of coffee taste. The alcohol aftertaste lingered more than I would personally like, but it wasn't offensive.
Feel - 3.0/5.0 - The flavors stuck around longer than I would like after each sip and they weren't blended well enough for my taste.
Drinkability - 3.0/5.0 - I have a number of other oatmeal stouts that I would rather have. If offered, I would drink again, but not my first choice.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Know Your Beer - Belgian Tripel

This week we are going to look at the Belgian Tripel style of beer. This style has become more common in the US, but especially in Nuevo Mexico - we're really starting to see our local breweries exploring this type of beer and seeing what they can do with it.

The term "tripel" actually relates to the part of the brewing process where a brewer will use triple (aka 3x) the amount of malt that they would usually use for a brew. These beers tend to be on the fragrant end; having a bit of floral, fruity and sweet aroma to it. The brew tends to be lighter in color and body; the lighter body hides the fact that these beers are really strong - most of these start off at 8.0% abv (an average beer is 5.0% abv) and go up from there! So don't suck these down, unless you want to end up with a headache the next day.

I haven't had a lot of these, in fact, we've only featured three on the blog: the Flying Dog Kerberos Tripel, the Chama River Menege a Tripel and the Prescott Brewing Belgian Tripel.

Some others that you could try are the Rock Bottom Tremere Tripel and the Sierra Nevada Stricklander.