Thursday, December 30, 2010


To prepare our livers for our six brewery tour over New Years, Jo and I decided to head to Capone's for some lunch and drinks.  We haven't been there in a while and missed their delicious wings.  I also got a tasty cheese steak hoagie.

Once again, I started with a sampler of four great beers.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Vacation Beers 4: The Final Night

Twas the last night of vacation,
and all through the house,
I was drinking beer,
not just one but four.

Okay enough of that.  The last night of our trip to Vermont I went through a bunch of quality beers and had a grand old time.  After discovering that absolutely everything was closed in Brattleboro on Christmas Day including McNeill's brewpub, we stopped at Brattleboro Discount Liquors on our way back to the house.  I like to check random beer stores in hopes that they have interesting things.  Nothing super here although they had some local stuff so we picked some up including bottles from McNeill's.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Vacation Beers 3: Ridiculously Great

I opened some awesome beers this Christmas Eve.  While I expected the Troegs Splinter Blue to be excellent, I was surprised just how good the 2009 Bell's Expedition Stout was.  Ended up as a super night.

I started off the night with the 2009 Bell's Expedition.  I bought this case from Global Beer in Northern Liberties and it was already a year old when I bought it two weeks ago.  Pretty handy as really strong stouts often get better after a year or two.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Vacation Beers 2: Beer Harder

Another great night of beers and it's just the beginning of my vacation.  I opened a North Coast Old Rasputin, a great Imperial Stout I've been neglecting, a Troegs Flying Mouflan, a barleywine, and a Weyerbacher Quad.  The major thing that they all have in common is that their ABVs are pretty high.  It's going to be a theme for this vacation and, well, most of the beers I drink.

I started with the North Coast Old Rasputin.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The start of vacation beers!

Wednesday night, I opened a bottle of Founders Imperial Stout that was bottled in 2009.
Poured with no head but it still had a little carbonation.  Mild coffee smell.  First sip had some pleasant roasted notes with some coffee notes.  A little bitterness and some slight fruitiness are found, but they quickly disappear.  Nice thick mouthfeel on it.  Considering it's 10%, the alcohol is really well hidden.  Enjoyable Imperial Stout and another good one from Founders, a brewery out of Michigan.  Their more well known stouts are Breakfast Stout or Kentucky Breakfast Stout, but this one compares positively especially if you aren't looking for a mouth full of coffee.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Russian River Rumble

Thanks to my awesome sister in law, I finally got my hands on bottles of Russian River Consecration and Supplication in order to do a side by side tasting.  Every time I've had one or the other, I've decided that it's the best but it's purely because I can never remember what the other tasted like.  Friday night I decided to try to end my confusion once and for all.  Or, at least until I have the loser again and decide it's better.  I'm fickle, so sue me.

In the left corner, we have Consecration, a dark ale aged in Cabernet Sauvignon wine barrels with currants.

Dock Street Tuesday

Before driving to Troegs on Wednesday, Jo and I went to Dock Street Brewpub Tuesday night.  Dock Street is located at 50th and Baltimore (basically) and serves pizza and some other food.  It's an interesting neighborhood place and their pizza is quite good.  We went (well, I went) because they were doing a release of their Russian Imperial Stout, Prince Myshkin, and also had a few bottles (40) of their 2009 Barleywine for sale with it.  The barleywine had been aged in Pinot Noir wine barrels for 10 months and then set down in their cellar for a year.  The Prince Myshkin was aged for 11 months in the same barrels which means it pulled flavors from the oak, some wine flavors and whatever the barleywine imparted.  It sounded too interesting not to take a short trip on the green line to head up there.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Okay, now I know I'm crazy

If you've been reading my blog since near the beginning you may remember that I once questioned my sanity after attending the Troegs Splinter Blue release.  However, after Wednesday, I think I have crossed that line and left it in my dust.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Wednesday was the release of Troegs Splinter Black and I went to that too.  Splinter Black is an Imperial Stout brewing with cocoa nibs and turbinado sugar, then aged for three months on oak with vanilla beans, and finally bottle fermented.  According to the brewery it comes in at a whopping 13%.  To say I'm excited to drink it would be an understatement.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ommegang Abbey Ale

Had a  bottle of Ommegang Abbey Ale.  Take notice of my awesome new Gulden Draak cup.
Smells fruity with some Belgian aromas.  First sip had caramel and toffee notes finishing with a slight metallic note.  Not an unpleasant end just slightly odd.  As it warmed up, there were some more fruity flavors that came to the front.  Definitely a better beer when warmer.  The flavors really opened up and the slight metallic hint disappeared.  Really good dubbel.  Ommegang does Belgian really well.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Beer isn't just for drinking

The November issue of BeerAdvocate magazine had a recipe for cranberry sauce made with Ommegang Three Philosophers.  I thought it sounded delicious and finally got a chance to test it out.
Add 12oz cranberries, 1c honey, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1c dried cherries, 1tsp kosher salt, and 2 sliced oranges to the pot.  Pour the Three Philosophers over the top as seen above.  Reserve a little for the chef.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mad Elf Madness

My friends had been talking about Troegs Mad Elf so I finally decided to do my small two bottle vertical.  For those that don't now the term, a vertical is drinking different years of the same beer to compare the differences caused by aging.  Most people do verticals with 4+ years to get a nice range, but they also tend to do them with other people because otherwise they'd get wasted by the end.  As I was by myself, I decided comparing the 2008 to the 2010 would be plenty.
In the above picture, the 2010 is on the left and the 2008 is on the right.  As you may be able to see, they were both a ruby brown color but the 2010 was much clearer.  I was actually surprised by how different they ended up being.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Petrus Aged Pale

I had another bottle of Petrus Aged Pale, a Flanders Oud Bruin, the other day.
Sour, tart smell with a tiny bit of vinegar.  Sweet and sour up front followed by a hit of bitterness and ending with a dry finish, leaving you wanting more.  As I worked my way through it, the hit of bitterness disappeared completely and the flavors switched between sweet, sour and tart.  I didn't get any hints of apple in this bottle unlike the last time I had it.  I really like this beer and feel it would make a good entry into the world of sours.  Search it out as it shouldn't be too hard to find.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sly Dog Night at Belgian Cafe

Had a great night at the Belgian Cafe on Tuesday.  They were doing a joint Sly Fox and Dogfish Head night (nicknamed Sly Dog by Suzie Woods) and I was interested in chatting with her again when I was sober (instead of like during the Craft Beer Express) and, of course, trying some new beers.  As usual, the food at the Belgian Cafe was pretty great.  I had a vegan burger with brie and pickled jalapenos that was delicious and Jo had a chicken sandwich with leeks and blue cheese (aka the Monks Burger).  Suzy and the Dogfish Head rep, Wendy, showed up around 7 and I chatted with them both for a while.  Like I usually say, it's always nice when people are willing to talk to me about beer even if it's their job to do so.  I'll take anything.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Friday Beers!

Had a double dose of awesome beers last Friday and surprisingly enough they were both hoppy beers.  I went to Jose Pistolas for lunch (where else would I go?) with my brother in law, Sean, because they were having a bunch of Founders stuff on draft plus their food is always delicious.  While the Breakfast Stout was calling my name, I had to get a glass of the Harvest Ale poured from the first Founders firkin sent to Philadelphia (according to Adam.)
Notice the thick, creamy head as a result of being poured from the firkin.  I tried to get a picture of it but I couldn't get a good angle on it.  Basically, it was sitting on the counter in the corner and to pour a beer, Adam just opened the tap.  Picture a water cooler made of wood and turned on its side and you'll have a good idea.  The Harvest Ale had a lovely citrus smell without any hop bitterness.  First sip reminded me of lemons and some orange peel.  It was followed by a nice sweetness also without any bitterness.  Unfortunately I've never had the Founders Harvest before so I can't compare but this was really good.  Glad I went with it.  I also got a taste of Curmedgeon which was fantastic.  Tasted like a glass of caramel bread.  Right up my alley.

That night, I opened the bottle of Unfiltered Double Simcoe I got at Weyerbacher during the release of Riserva.  This is different from their regular Double Simcoe as it's bottle conditioned in a 750mL bottle so unfiltered.
Similar lemon and orange flavors in this one although a little bitterness is present.  It has a sweetness to it but ends with a hop bite.  Not overpowering, but it's there and lingers for a bit.  I thought it went really well with dinner too.  The hops flavor went really well with whatever it was I was eating at the time.  Orange citrus backed each sip and as it warmed up I started getting some caramel flavors as well.  Compared to the normal bottle that I had over Thanksgiving, this was less hoppy and a little sweeter.  Definitely would be interesting to have both together that's for sure.

Sly Fox and Dogfish Head are apparently at the Belgian Cafe tomorrow night so maybe look for some notes about that in the next few days.  I know I'm going to the Bavarian Barbarian lunch at Jose Pistolas on Friday so feel free to say hi if you are going too.  Good beer and their brewer is going to be there I think.  Should be fun.

Duck Rabbit Brown

I had the Duck Rabbit Brown Ale recently and it continued to hold up their tradition of making great beers.
Nice roasted and nutty aroma.  A big toasted flavor comes in the first sip and is followed by a pleasant sweetness.  Some bitterness in the aftertaste, but only a little and it doesn't linger like an IPA or anything.  I thought it started similar to the Cigar City Maduro but the sweetness makes it end very differently.  Drinking more, you get a flavor similar to hazelnuts.  Yet another great beer from Duck Rabbit.  I cannot wait to try their Barleywine.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Philadelphia Brewing Company Harvest from the Hood

I got a bottle of Harvest from the Hood from our Community Supported Agriculture program a couple weeks ago.  For the past two years (I think two years), the hops used are grown at the farm where we get our stuff so they give out a bottle in the last pickup.  Harvest is a wet hopped IPA, meaning it's brewed with freshly picked hops.
Hoppy smell without the sweetness that the stronger IPAs give off.  Some citrus rind in the first sip but they don't remind me of grapefruit this time.  The citrus and bitter flavors result from the hops and differ based on the type of hops used in the brewing just like any other ingredient.  Not sure which hops are used to brew this one though.  The aftertaste is a bit bitter and lingers.  Decent IPA and neat that the hops came from a farm in Philadelphia.  I probably wouldn't pick Harvest up again but I don't think it's that expensive so it's worth a try.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

South Philly Tap Room

Jo and I went to do some Christmas shopping in South Philly so we decided to stop by South Philly Tap Room for dinner and some drinks on the way home.  This replaced our trip to Devil's Den so I lied in my previous post.  Oh well, you'll just have to learn to live with the disappointment.  This was my first visit to SPTR so I was pretty excited.  I've heard a lot of good things about it and it lived up to all of them.  The draft list was quite varied and the food was really good.  I got a great meatball hoagie and Jo got an open-faced roast chicken sandwich that was quite delicious.  Plus there is a decently priced bottle shop called Brews across the street so you can stock up on things you need after having dinner.  How convenient.

To start, I got a beer I've been eying for a while, Allagash Interlude, an American Wild Ale.
It had a tart, fruit smell with a little funk in the background.  Not overpowering and very interesting.  Initial sip was tart and sour, but without the puckering lactic sourness that exists in some of the more pronounced sours.  Nice base of sweetness to buoy the sour flavors and keep them from ruining your mouth.  Jo really enjoyed this as well so take that as you will.  We both decided it had a lemonade like flavor although without the ridiculous sugar that exists in most.  I guess you could call it beeronade?  Hmm, maybe not since that sounds remarkably dumb.

After flip-flopping between Ommegang Adoration and Manayunk Iron Curtain, I decided to order Manayunk's Russian Imperial Stout since we're going to Ommegang in March anyway.
Cocoa, coffee and some roasted malt in the nose.  Quite inviting.  Some warming alcohol up front followed by some sweetness to counteract it.  The cocoa and coffee flavors fight with the alcohol a bit with the alcohol initially winning but, as is usual, the alcohol notes disappeared as I drank more.  It's a flavor that's easy to get past. at least for me, which allows the tastier stuff to come to the front.  Nice thick mouthfeel too.  Good offering from Manayunk even if it wasn't quite as tasty as the Stones Russian Imperial Stout I had the other day.  Hard to compete with them though.  Enjoyable end to the meal.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

I drank a Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron the other day, a sort of brown ale.  I say sort of because it's aged in a giant wooden tank at Dogfish Head made of Palo Santo wood, is quite a bit stronger than a normal brown, and really doesn't taste anything like one.
I liked the look of this beer a lot; deep brown with minimal carbonation.  Considering it's 12%, no real surprise that the major smell I got was an alcohol sweetness.  Initially, I mostly tasted some sweetness but surprisingly without the alcohol I smelled.  Some warming alcohol appears in the aftertaste, however.  As it warmed up, I got some plum flavors, a little vanilla, and some caramel lingering on the tongue.  The vanilla really started coming up and it got more and more tasty.  Goes to show how much a cold temperature can mask flavors in beer.  Some people think this is too hot (meaning it tastes mostly of alcohol) fresh but I quite enjoyed it.  Quite pleasant with dinner as well.