Friday, October 15, 2010

Is it 10-10-10 already?

The first Vertical Epic I tried was last year's 09-09-09, which was a Belgian style Porter. Definitely one of my favorite beers, as it took a style I love (porter) and added some nice custom tweaks to it. This year's edition is a Belgian Tripel with some wine grapes incorporated into the brew - specifically Musct, Gewurztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc.

Appearance - Appropriately golden, with a frothy almond head. The light bubbles make the beer look really inviting - my mouth is watering! Nice and clear too. 4.0/5.0

Smell - Flowery sweetness and sugar. Lemon, banana and honey too. 3.0/5.0

Taste - The belgian taste is dominant - all of the spice, coriander and lemon are really potent and easy to pick up on. I don't mind the sweetness and it masks the alcohol extremely well (and at 9.5% ABV, this one will sock it to ya). The use of wine grapes is different - it adds some tartness to it that you don't normally see in a tripel. The taste changed a bit as the beer warmed. - 3.5/5.0

Feel - A clean beer - there is a little aftertaste, but it's very mild. Flavor is predominately on the tongue. 3.5/5.0

Drinkability - I gotta say, I enjoyed the beer, but I didn't really think it was so amazing that I would buy this by the case. I could get a bottle of New Belgium Tripel for about 1/2 the price. 2.5/5.0

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Joker likes beer too

So, in the Carney freak show that is the Shmaltz line of carnival themed beers, this one reminds me the most of Batman's arch-nemesis, the Joker. Not the Heath Ledger one, but more like Jack Nicholas.

Appearance - Golden yellow color, with a lighter head. The frothiness of the head sticks to the glass, leaving a visible residue as the head dissipates. - 3.5/5.0

Smell - Really sweet malt aroma. I get scents of honey, maybe some lemon. 3.5/5.0

Taste - Definitely a lager. The malt is really enjoyable, but not as sweet as the smell would elude to. The initial crispness is really enjoyable too. 4.0/5.0

Feel - Smooth and flavorful, with a nice malty aftertaste. Very refreshing. 4.5/5.0

Drinkability - I think this is a great beer for just chilling out. I happen to be clearing out e-mails and this just hit the spot. - 4.5/5.0

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkin Porter hits the spot!

Mi Mo and Juan Mas (my awesome in-laws) were in Scottsdale last week and managed to fanagle a growler of Four Peak's Pumpkin Porter for me. From what they said, Four Peaks isn't allowing growler fills of Pumpkin Porter until the day after Thanksgiving. So, thanks to my in-laws' silver tongues, I got to enjoy this amazing beer!

I didn't do a full blown review because we were in the middle of dinner, but here are the highlights:

-An excellent porter in itself, the pumpkin flavor was just enough to add some distinction, but not enough to really be a pumpkin-ey beer.

-The carbonation was just right - enough to add some crisp, but not enough to induce too much beer belching.

-Aroma was dominated by coffee and roasted malt, with a hint of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove

The best thing about this beer is that it was a porter that had a little hint of something else. Similar to Breckenridge's Vanilla Porter, this one took a style I loved and added some flash to it. If you are in the Phoenix area, I'd highly recommend getting a pint of this goodness!