Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ah, a restocked Beer Fridge

Being out of town left the Beer Fridge pretty empty. Fortunately, I go to Cabo San Lucas for a conference, then I get back and my lovely wife restocked the fridge with the new Sam Adams Summer Pack (lacking the gag-worthy Cherry Wheat and Blackberry Witbier coming in as a great replacement), the Guinness 250 Anniversary Stout and this month's beer of the month club.

So many to try...so little time.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Beer Fridge on the Road - Seattle Part Duex

After getting some great food and beers at Emmett Watson's, we headed down Pike Street Market and eventually landed at Pike Brewing Company. I love going to this place - the atmosphere is unique (so much crap on the walls, it's not funny) and the beer & food are excellent. If you happen to be there for grub, try the Pike's Ale Braised Bratwurst with Sauerkraut. It's made with the beer that I tried there, the Pike Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale.

The Kilt Lifter is not a robust of a Scotch ale as its Southwestern brother - the Four Peaks Kilt Lifter. That said, this is a really good Scotch ale. There was a lightly sour, smoky taste to it, with a lot of bold malt. The color is perfection - a nice ruby/caramel color, which is very fitting for a Scotch ale. Like I said, not as "rough" as the Four Peaks, but the different flavor was really appreciated and the ABV is a bit higher than Four Peaks (6.6% ABV vs. 6.0% ABV), so it can creep up on ya.

And as a parting note, these were the delicious oysters we got at Emmett Watson's...so good.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Beer Fridge on the Road - Seattle Part Uno

Gah, I love Seattle. I don't get to go there as often as I like, but when I do, I just have a blast. This trip, we had a great lunch over at Emmett Watson's Oyster Bar. And having gotten stuck in traffic on the way to Pike Street Market, this sign hit me just right. I think "traffic" in ABQ ends up costing you about 10 minutes...not an hour. Anyway, all that freeway traffic made me hungry and thirsty.

The first offering of the day was the Maritime Pacific Nightwatch Dark Amber Ale. This brew was a really dark, tasty beer. Even with the sharp malt taste, the beer doesn't have a strong scent (if any smell at all!). The Nightwatch is really smooth and crisp, with no after-taste at all. It's at 5.5% ABV, so a good sturdy beer. And boy, did it taste good with the oysters we had.

The Hales Mongoose IPA was...different. I expect an IPA to have certain characteristics - hops, bitterness, dark golden color. The Mongoose IPA didn't really have any of these features. The hops were really understated...too subdued for my taste. The bitter taste wasn't there either and the color was almost a dark amber, not an IPA. This wasn't a bad beer...just really disappointing as an IPA.

Later this week, we'll check out another brewery in Seattle, then we'll head north to Alaska and Canada...eh?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Best Gift Part Deux - Grand Teton Brewing Teton Ale

The 2nd brewery that I got this past month from my Beer of the Month Club was Grand Teton Brewing Co out of Victor, Idaho. Never been to Victor, Idaho, not sure if I'm really planning on it, but after trying some of their beers through this club, I may just have to swing into town.

The Teton Ale, which is Grand Teton's Amber ale, is a pretty good showing from the great potato lovers in Idaho. It's got a sharp malt taste to it, very characteristic with what you would expect out of the amber. There is a really nice, smooth taste and ultimate finish, with very little bitter taste (only 24 IBUs). Just shy of 5.0% abv (4.98%...not sure why we can't just round up, but oh well), it's a little on the light side on how many you will need to start considering going to Jiffy Lube (see the Spaten Optimator review for that one...).

Would definitely recommend the Teton Ale - I also got the Old Faithful Ale as part of my shipment, but we'll get to that one later.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cape Ann Brewing Fisherman's Ale

I love my wife - she picks way better gifts for me than I do for her and I am happy to admit that...she's way more creative and thoughtful. I usually go and get her whatever she has clearly mentioned that she wants and I get excited to give it to her and end up telling her before the gift giving occasion. Anyway, anniversary #4's gift was a membership in the Beer of the Month Club. Through an act of God, I managed to miss out on the month where Santa Fe Brewing was one of the selections. Instead, I got a brewery in Yellowstone and Cape Ann Brewing, of which we'll check out the Fisherman's Ale today.

This was a very clean, pretty light beer. The bottle and all the info that came with the beers called it an "American style kolsch" beer, which I totally agree with. It's got a light ale taste with a hint of sweetness and caramel. Don't expect much (if any) aftertaste, as it's really subdued. Not bitter at all (only 24 IBUs) and a pretty standard alcohol content (5.0% ABV). Tina really enjoyed this one, as a fan of lighter beers. It was a little too light for my taste, so if I would happen to be at the brewery, I wouldn't get it again. Not that it was a bad beer...just not my flavor.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Marble Brewing IPA

I really enjoy going to Marble Brewery - it's a really low key, chill environment with some damn fine beer. It's sister brewery - Chama River - is good too, but a little uppitity for me at times. Marble has recently distributed some of their beers (Amber, Wildflower Wheat and IPA) in stores, but there's something to be said about getting it straight from the tap.

Obviously, I've been on an IPA kick lately. The really unique hop aroma and taste has worked for me and I like trying different types. I have to say that of the IPA I've tried that are 1) available in Albuquerque and 2) come in quantities of more than a 22 oz bottle, I think that the Marble IPA is probably the best.

At 6.2% ABV, this isn't the most potent IPA I've had, but it's balanced so you don't fall off your bar stool. They use a nice variety of hops (Columbus, Amarillo and Centennial), which I haven't really seen in other IPAs and adds to the beer's unique tart flavor, with very little aftertaste. With a nice golden color and a hint of citrus scent, this is one fine beer to smell, see and taste.

You can find Marble beers at the brewery itself, Kelly's Liquors, Quarters, Smiths, etc... Many of the local restaurants serve it on draft (know it's at the Standard Diner and Nob Hill Bar & Grill). Definitely worth a try!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Kelly's Robust Porter

I haven't really ventured into Kelly's darker beer offerings much. I think the Dunkelweizen was as far as I had gotten, but figured it was time to try something different and expand my horizons. The Kelly's Robust Porter fits that profile of dark beer extremely well - put that up to the light and you're not going to see very much passing through that beer.

With only 40 IBUs, this beer has a medium bitter taste which sticks with you a while after each sip. The hops used in the beer are light enough, though, to reduce the hop aroma from the beer, allowing the really great malt smell work its mojo. You can taste the roasted malt really well and it's really tasty. I was pretty surprised with the quality of this beer and its complexity of not just being a malt brew.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bridgeport Ropewalk Amber

One of the things I've noticed since starting this beer blog is that there are a number of beers that I have seen quite regularly, but never bothered to try. The Bridgeport Ropewalk Amber Ale is one of those beers - it's circus-y label stands out enough to draw your attention, but I never dared to try it as I went for the tried and true beer. I regret that, especially after tasting this brew.

There's a nice sweet first scent on the Ropewalk Amber that caught my nose. The malt offers a smooth, very lightly sweet taste. With a 5.6% ABV, the beer has some strength behind it, but the use of the Crystal Malt and "Northwestern Hops" (whatever those may be) are blended just right to make it a really enjoyable beer with (again) just that hint of sweetness. The caramel, amber color is right on too. I really enjoyed the Ropewalk and will definitely be trying out some more of Bridgeport's offerings.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Odell Brewing 5 Barrell Pale Ale

Quentin, our faithful beer guy, at Quarters on Wyoming and Montgomery, had recommended the Odell Brewing IPA last month and it was a nice brew. So, figured it wouldn't hurt to sample some of Odell's other offerings. Today's is the Odell Brewing 5 Barrel Pale Ale. Now, the story they tell on the label/box is that Odell's process is to experiment with new beers by using this 5 Barrel pilot system, which allows the brewers to try out new things without wasting a much of supplies on a large batch. Sounds interesting, but was it successful with this pale ale?

The Pale Ale has got a nice hop aroma to it, but lacks that strong hop taste that you would expect out of an IPA. There is still that bitter taste to it, but it's more subdued. I would gather it has to do with the brewery's method of adding the hops and using fresh whole hop flowers in the process. It's definitely unique, but nothing that is mind-blowingly different, which is ok as I prefer the more subtle changes. Everything else about this beer, including it's 5.2% ABV, is pretty consistent with what you'd expect in an American-style pale ale.