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