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