Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Imperial Penn (Porter)

Santa Fe Brewing is a common find at most local grocery stores and liquor shops. Good stuff, my particular favorite is the State Penn Porter. For their 20th anniversary, Santa Fe Brewing created three very interesting potent beers - the State Penn Imperial Porter, the Imperial Yippee IPA and the Sangre de Frambuesa Raspberry Belgian. Tonight, we'll talk about the Imperial Porter and later we'll get to the Yippee IPA. I gotta tell ya, I expected this beer to be good and I was definitely not disappointed. In fact, my lovely bride, Tina, talked me into going out and grabbing another one of these from ol' Quarters. They are on sale at most liquor stores for only $6.99 a bomber.

Appearance - A rich, smooth black brew. A mocha colored, foamy head tops the beer, which also has a really appealing, rich "bubbly" look. The head doesn't dissipate and is just pretty to look at- 5.0/5.0

Smell - Lots of coffee and dark cocoa in the nose. Enough aroma to enjoy, but not too much to overpower. 4.0/5.0

Taste - Wow! Rich, powerful flavor. Coffee, dark chocolate, some alcohol, woody flavors. Some bitterness too, but enjoyable 4.5/5.0

Feel - Thick and coats the mouth. 4.0/5.0

Drinkability - Well, let's put it this way - we went out and bought another one. 5.0/5.0

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ranger Danger!

Well, actually not. Due to a complete lack of creativity, the term "stranger danger" was in my head and stranger rhymes with, there you have it. Today's sampling is definitely not something you should run away from as if it was some crazed madman that you'd find in some horror flick where common sense doesn't exist. The New Belgium Ranger IPA is a new addition to New Belgium's line of beers and I think their first offering that they have marketed as an IPA. This beer is tasty, but lacks some of the qualities that I have come to expect and love in IPAs. I think if you want to put your toe into the IPA pool, this could be a way to introduce someone to this type of beer.

Appearance - Lighter than a number of IPAs I have seen, but a lovely frothy white head. The bubbles are very inviting, but not so many as to make you think this beer is going to fill ya up. 4.0/5.0

Smell - Like standing in the middle of a forest, there's some definite pine in the aroma of this beer. The hops are nice and pronounced, but not so sharp as to offend (well, I love hops, so not sure that would happen). 4.0/5.0

Taste - The citrus hop flavor is far more blended and subdued than I would have expected. The bitterness is lighter than I usually like, but it's not bad. Like some other reviews I have seen about this beer, I would probably call it a pale ale, rather than an IPA. I expect a lot of boldness in an IPA and this beer just didn't deliver that. - 3.0/5.0

Feel - Smooth, with a great mouth coverage. The aftertaste is a bit sour, but doesn't stick around very much, unlike the hop taste which does hang with you for a while. - 4.0/5.0

Drinkability - As an IPA, probably not. I have a large list of IPAs that I would have on a regular basis. This beer's similarity to a pale ale would put in consideration if I wanted that, but alas - I'll just stick with an IPA. On that note, this isn't a bad beer - just more of a pale ale. 3.0/5.0

Friday, February 19, 2010

Well, I've been up a creek without a paddle before, but not this one

Fortunately, this beer doesn't have the same...outcome as it's sister creek. I've had a few experiences with SC, all of which end very very poorly. Tina has seen the Grand Teton Brewing Bitch Creek ESB at BevMo! a number of times, each time accompanied with a laugh. I haven't had many ESBs - Redhook comes to mind first, and tried one over at Marble the other day. They are tasty beers, but it doesn't seem like most breweries want to venture into actually making one.

Appearance - Lighter head, but a thick looking auburn hue. Darker than the other ESBs I have had. 3.0/5.0
Smell -Malt, caramel, toffee - 3.5/5.0
Taste - Sharp malt, caramel, nuts, bit of sourness at the end. I detect a bit of earthy chocolate flavor, plus some fruitiness that balances well with the malt and hops. 4.0/5.0
Feel - Thick with great mouth coverage. The flavors roll through your mouth as it goes down. 4.0/5.0
Drinkability - I'd have this one again for sure - just be careful as its 6.5% ABV will not make it a session beer. But if you've had a hard day at the office, this one will feel real nice going down. - 4.5/5.0

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Nothing tastes better after 13.2 miles than beer

Congrats to my lovely wife for finishing The Arizona (Half) Marathon today! She did some serious training, including a 12 mile run from Tramway & Montgomery to Saggio's by UNM (yikes!). I did my fair share of training, but mine involved testing the limts of my taste buds when it comes to good beer.

So, I did some arm curls with the Rogue Hazelnut Brown over at the Yard House at Scottsdale Fashion Square. I didn't notice this beer at first, with the initial beer being a Green Flash West Coast IPA. I really had trouble with the 2nd beer, but after combing through the beer list (which upon counting was 119 draft beers), I noticed I completely skipped over the Hazelnut Brown - shame on me, as it was a very tasty brew (like most of what I have out of the Rogue Brewery)

Appearance - An oddly semi-translucent brown with a fine tan head - 3.5/5.0
Smell - Very mild with nuttiness and malt. From what I understand, this is a fragrant beer, but that wasn't the case with the one I picked up. 2.5/5.0
Taste - A rich, bold flavor with some (obviously) hazelnut and chocolate. There's some smoky nutty malt as well. You can get some sweetness out of this, but just a hint. 4.5/5.0
Feel - Silky, with a little crispness at the end. Definitely lighter bodied than I expected. 3.5/5.0
Drinkability - Loved the beer, but would have loved to had more detectable aromas. 4.0/5.0

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ah, hops got all wet.

Hops are American to me - pretty much as American as a white picket fence, a picturesque green lawn and a blue American made car.

The big white frothy head tops a nice copper beer. Love the hop smell, which is really powerful and fragrant. Sorta like you stuck your nose in a bag of piney and citrusy hops. So tasty. Deliciously hoppy, there is a hint of sour and sweet at the end. The flavor isn't terribly bitter, but definitely characteristic of an IPA. The sourness covers your mouth and dissipates after a bit. Not terribly carbonated, so isn't filling. It's a thicker beer than I expected, which I don't mind. Would pick this one up again, as it's a solid IPA.

Appearance - 3.5/5.0 - White frothy head, copper color
Smell - 5.0/5.0 - Lots and lots of citrusy and piney hops
Taste - 3.5/5.0 - Sour, hoppy, strong flavor. Aftertaste isn't terribly strong, but tasty.
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - Thicker than expected, but the flavor fills your mouth.
Drinkability - 4.0/5.0 - Would pick up again, a nice representation of an IPA