Saturday, January 30, 2010

This beer really did a number of me, I'll all Black & Blue

Like most trips to Phoenix, I usually hit up BevMo! and pick up some fun stuff for while we're there and some to take home. This last trip was New Years, so we picked up the obligatory New Years supply. The Dogfish Head Black & Blue was part of that stash, but didn't end up getting opened, so it got deported to New Mexico. Tina and I tried this the other night and had a nice little tasting.

As you can see in the picture, this pours a really beautiful amber/nectar color, looking very rich and proper like the guy on the label. Even with the light head, this is thick beer. The lacing is light and drops pretty quick. There is sweetness to the aroma - mostly subtle berries. The flavor is unique - there is a thick, crispy malt taste combined with a tart sweetness from the berries utilized in the beer. Expect the beer to hit hard at first, then blend itself in the background. No hint of alcohol on this, which was unexpected for a 10% ABV brew. There is great mouth coverage and heavier body to this one, with crispy carbonation. I really enjoyed this beer, even though it's not one I'd get often, it was fun for a special occasion (or just to enjoy once in a blue moon).

Appearance - 4.5/5.0 - Amber nectar color, looks rich and thick, light head, lacing is light and drops fast
Smell - 3.5/5.0 - Sweetness, berries, but a bit subtle
Taste - 4.0/5.0 - Thick crispy malt, tart sweetness, cidery, hit of flavor up front - different but flavorful, no hint of alcohol for a 10% beer
Feel - 4.5/5.0 - Definite thickness, great mouth coverage, crisp carbonation
Drinkability -3.5/5.0 - Very good, but not one you have all the time - fun for special occasions

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dear Noble sir, I have a beer for you

I was a bit disappointed when I heard from the Albuquerque Beer Geek that the White Ale had been replaced as Samuel Adams' spring offering. It has a special place in my heart, as I remember a very relaxing St. Patrick's Day in Phoenix a few years ago where I enjoyed some Sammy White Ale in between tax deadlines (yes...I live my life in terms of tax deadlines...and yes, I realize I need help for it, but I haven't found some Tax Guy Anonymous group yet.) Anyway, the White Ale's replacement is the Noble Pils...does it measure up? It does keep the color scheme of its predecessor if anything.

This Pilsner is a bubbly light pale color with a iffy white head. I don't know why, but carbonation bubbles really draw me into a beer. The beer smells hoppy - not IPA hoppy, but crispy hoppy. The flavor is sharp like you'd expect from a good pilsner, which is further enhanced by the five hops...(and as the ABQ Beer Geek mentioned, there are only 4 noble hops...which now I wonder where the 5th came from). I like the hint of bitterness that you get, but it's quick if you're not a fan of bitterness. There's a real cleaniness to the beer, which is reflected by its crispness. Smooth going down too and I think it would work with a mixed crowd. This brew is a good replacement for the White Ale, and definitely a beer I'll be picking up again.

Appearance - 4.0/5.0 - A sexy bubbly pale yellow, lots of bubbles and a light white head.
Smell - 3.0/5.0 - There's some hops, but not IPA level of hops.
Taste - 4.0/5.0 - Crisp hops, some bitterness, but just enough to add some flavor
Feel -4.0/5.0 - Clean, smooth and refreshing
Drinkability - 4.5/5.0 - Certainly would have again. Will miss the White Ale, but this is a fine substitute

Friday, January 22, 2010

What is the chair attached to?

I had to do some research, because I couldn't figure out what was up with the red chair on the label. Apparently, the beer is named after the oldest operating chair lift on Mt. Bachelor. So, it's a ski lift. Much more sense now.

Pouring a pale amber with a pretty foamy almond head, the Red Chair IPA from Deschutes Brewery is mouth watering to look at. There's a really nice hit of piney hops when you take a whiff of the beer. Those hops are really potent and sour, but sweetness from the malt balances it out very nicely. Makes for a very favorable IPA that isn't just a bunch of pungent hops. There is some bitterness, but nothing that will pucker your face up. Definitely good mouth coverage, as light sourness sticks around. Light carbonation gives it a nice thickness and a medium body. Smooth going down.

Appearance - 4.0/5.0 - Pale amber, foamy almond head. got my mouth watering
Smell -3.5/5.0 - Piney hops with some sourness
Taste - 4.0/5.0 - Sour hops blend well with lightly sweet malt; very favorable
Feel - 3.5/5.0 - Light carbonation, medium body, some thickness
Drinkability - 3.0/5.0 - Very enjoyable, but not my favorite IPA. Wouldn't go out of my way to get it again.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Wow, a beer I really...really didn't care for.

The Lips of Faith series that New Belgium puts out is, from my understanding, a very enjoyable line of beers from a pretty reliably good brewery. This beer, the La Folie Sour Brown Ale does not reflect this beer.

The beer's coloring looks really nice - it's a dark red with absolutely nothing for a head. A very potent sourness and vinegar as you take a sniff, which is expected given it's a sour brown ale. Where I have a real problem with the beer is the taste. To be completely honest, the beer tastes like I drank some funky cough syrup, then upchucked a bit in mouth...but kept it in, so ended up tasting the stomach acid again on the way down. I can't just get past that. I took a few more sips and picked up some sour apple & cherry, but not enough to redeem this beer. The vinegar flavor comes up again in the aftertaste...

I couldn't finish the whole bomber, which is sad given the price - $13 bucks a bomber! EPIC FAIL by New Belgium
Appearance - 3.5/5.0 - A pretty dark red with nada for head
Smell - 2.5/5.0 - Oy...vinegar and pungent sourness.
Taste - 2.5/5.0 - GAG...sour, vinegar, cough syrup, stomach acid, sour apple & cherry
Feel - 1.5/5.0 - It certainly sticks with you...
Drinkability - 1.0/5.0 - No way Jose. This is definitely an acquired taste.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tonight seemed like a good night to get ruined

Not that type of ruined, more like the Stone Ruination IPA. I taught class tonight and after a long day and having to talk for 4 hours, beer was a good idea to close out the night.

This IPA is lighter than I expected, almost the color of a hefeweizen. Not as cloudy, obviously as a hefe, but still pretty opaque. Head didn't stick around much, leaving being spotty clouds at the top of the beer and a little filmy residue as you drink the beer. Lovely floral, piney hops that offer enough scent to be inviting without being terribly overwhelming. For being a Stone beer, I really did expect a more robust taste. This brew is surprisingly subtle and blended. The sourness of the hops is blended in with some yeast that really does change the flavor of the beer from what you'd expect out of an average IPA. I think that it brings out a very fleeting moment of hoppy sweetness near the end of each taste.

I have to disagree with the bottle which describes the hops as "binding and blinding" that will have a "ruinous effect on your palate." While this was a very enjoyable beer, this isn't so blatantly hoppy that I want to cut my tongue out to regain some sembleness of taste. It really didn't taste THAT bitter, especially for being 100+ IBUs. Perhaps I have abused my mouth with so many IPAs that it takes a really REALLY intense hoppy beer to knock me out of my chair. I like that though, as it takes more skill to make a beer so infused with hops, but not so bitter that you can't drink it.

There is definitely smoothness to the beer, with distinct flavor and hops. If you enjoy hops, you'll really enjoy this beer. It's a sneaky bugger, with a 7.7% ABV, so just don't partake in too many of these.

Appearance - 3.5/5.0 - Golden, opaque, minimal head with lots of lacing
Smell - 4.5/5.0 - A tastefully blended mix of hops that are obvious but not overpowering
Taste - 4.5/5.0 - Smooth, hoppy with bitterness, but not enough to make it tough to drink.
Feel -5.0/5.0 - Silky, feel it all over the tongue, aftertaste is a nice lingering bitterness
Drinkability -5.0/5.0 - an excellent double IPA!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mooove over, I want another beer.

Based on the label of this beer, there could be a serious issue of bovine domestic abuse. Look at all of those hand prints... Anyway, whatever was being done to the cow by Left Hand Brewing Company, not my business, so long as the beer comes out good.

The Left Hand Milk Stout is pretty dark - as if milked straight from a black beer-cow. The tan head makes a brief appearance then disappears into nothingness, although it does leave a residue on your glass. Lots of mocha in the nose of this one, plus roasted malt and dark chocolate. The coffee stands out as the strongest taste - very sharp, roasty goodness. There is some sweetness from the chocolate, but not terribly much. I prefer milk stouts that are a bit more subtle, so good job Left Hand. The aftertaste is primarily light malt, almost like a chocolate malt shake. A sturdy, medium bodied beer and not very carbonated. I would definitely recommend this beer, especially you want to try something that isn't sweet, but has a hint of lighter flavor to offset the potent coffee. Only a 5.2% ABV, so you could easily enjoy a few of these without getting sloppy.

Appearance - 3.5/5.0 - Milked straight from the black cow; but the head was disappointing
Smell - 4.5/5.0 - Lots of coffee, mocha and chocolate.
Taste -4.0/5.0 - Strong flavor, but not overpowering. Coffee is the biggest flavor, with chocolate coming up second.
Feel - 3.5/5.0 - Flavors fill your mouth with a light malt aftertaste.
Drinkability - 4.0/5.0 - a solid milk stout, good for mixed company and for those who want a less "robust" stout

Stop in for a beer after you hit the gym

I've been going to Defined Fitness for a bit now, and always thought that was ironic there was a Krispy Kreme right next to the Juan Tabo location. There were a number of times where I'd get done working out, then grab a free hot donut and one for the road. Really made that workout count.

Today though, I noticed that the old Krispy Kreme was under construction to become...a new O'Niells! I really like that place, especially when we go to do the Geeks Who Drink trivia. This makes my trips to O'Niells only take 5 minutes, rather than the 15-20 it takes to go down to their San Mateo & Central location. Someone told me that after running a beer is better for ya then water...but that could have just been an excuse for a brew. I can only hope this new location will end up with a patio or something. Good call, O'Niell's!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Lagunitas does some fine beers - and this one just looked intriguing with the big black bar covering the label (stupid marketing working its magic on me! Sorcery!). So, I grabbed a bottle of the Lagunitas Censored Rich Copper Ale and popped it open to see if those highly paid marketing folks bamboozled me or not.

Fortunately for Lagunitas, the beer actually looks like what it's called. The brew is a slightly cloudly copper color with a foamy white head. Nothing spectacular, but nothing bad. There is some light floral hops and refreshing malt aroma. Sweet caramel, malt, and a medium body that goes down very smooth and coats your mouth well. Not much bitterness in this on (only 25 IBUs). I found it tasty and good for mixed company. I enjoyed the fact that it was a relatively simple beer done right, rather than an overtly complex one that came out bad.

Appearance - 3.5/5.0 - slighty cloudy copper color, light white head
Smell - 3.5/5.0 - lightly floral, malt smell, refreshing
Taste - 4.0/5.0 - caramel, sweet, medium body, malt bite at the end
Feel - 3.5/5.0 - light and refreshing, smooth
Drinkability - 4.0/5.0 - tasty, good mid range beer, good for mixed company