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.