Friday, April 29, 2011

Ballast Point Sculpin

Continuing the parade of IPAs, I opened a bottle of Ballast Point Sculpin the other night.
Very inviting and delicious smelling grapefruit aroma.  Just huge and awesome.  Grapefruit starts things off and is then balanced by some bitterness and a tiny bit of sweetness.  The bitterness never gets overwhelming and all the flavors melded really well and were very clean tasting.  It was pretty amazing how close it tasted and smelled like grapefruit juice.  What a great IPA.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

River Horse Hop-A-Lot-Amus

Besides having a great name, River Horse Hop-A-Lot-Amus was a pretty good double IPA.
Very appealing pineapple aroma, almost a sort of citrus bitterness mixed with some sweetness.  The flavor had slight citrus, some sweetness and finished with some bitterness that cleaned up all the flavors but didn't linger.  Very hoppy and enjoyable without being an overwhelming hop bomb.  Good stuff.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Drinks at The Farmer's Cabinet

My friend Chart was in town from Montreal and, while on our way to Varga Bar, I realized that we were walking by The Farmer's Cabinet and since his fiancee liked cocktails and I wanted to check it out anyway, we decided to go there for drinks instead.  I'll talk a bit more about the scenery, food and feel of the bar next week after Jo and I go for dinner so let me just say now that it was neat, the candles were nice, and the decorations were very inviting.  Nice place.

My first beer was from the new Danish brewery Evil Twin and was randomly named Soft Dookie, a vanilla imperial stout.  Not really sure about the name, but the beer was tasty and that's really what matters.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Nyuk Nyuk Nyut Nut Brown Ale

The brown ale was the third of the original bottles my friend Pete gave me a while back.  The Black Double IPA was quite good while the Dark Sour Wheat was, well, slightly bizarre (and probably a result of infection.)
Pretty great nose on this actually.  Malty with a decent amount of caramel.  Unfortunately, the smell was a bit more impressive than the flavors.  A little bready, a small bit of tanginess and a few raisin and plum notes initially.  Very little caramel flavor compared to the nose.  The other slight oddity was that Pete called it a nut brown and, well, it really wasn't. Sorry Pete!  Still, it was way better than the Abita I drank the other day so Pete's better than some production breweries at least.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Boon Kriek Mariage Parfait

I picked up a bottle of Kriek Mariage Parfait from Brouweij Boon on my recent trip to DeCicco's on the suggestion of my friend Craig.  I've had the Framboise from them and enjoyed it and this was supposed to be more similar to the traditional style of lambics so I figured why not.
Big pungent nose with some farmhouse hints and big sour cherry nose.  Reminded me of a more traditional version of lambic based on the aroma than their normal kriek.  First sip had a mildly sour cherry flavor but it wasn't anywhere near as sour or funky as the nose presents.  A little sweet cherry candy in the finish.  As it warmed, a little caramel and some sour apple appeared.  I'll admit, I enjoyed it and it was still slightly sour, I just wish the flavor followed from the aroma a bit more than it did.  If so it would have been pretty great.  Still, for $8, totally worth picking up if you see it on the shelves.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager

While all of the bottles I've tried so far that my friend Chris brought have been good, the Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager unfortunately wasn't.
Very fruity, sugary sweet nose, reminiscent of fruit extract and corn syrup.  Similar sugary strawberry flavor up front on the first sip followed by a really bizarre and slightly unpleasant corn (or something sort of gross) finish.  The aftertaste is also not particularly enticing.  It fades a little as the sugary sweet fruit flavor begins overpowering everything but it still doesn't really make you go back for more.  Sorry Chris but I'd avoid this one in the future.  Some how though I feel like my friend Jeff will say his girlfriend likes this one too just like when I said I didn't totally care for the Ithaca Apricot Wheat and it turned out to be her favorite beer.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Founders Centennial IPA

Stopped by Bridgid's yesterday since we needed to be out of our apartment for a bit and grabbed a glass of Founders Centennial IPA.
Big grapefruit nose.  (I think I write that a lot, oh well.)  The aroma was so strong I could smell it while the glass was just sitting on the bar.  Initially grapefruit and caramel with a little bit of bitterness in the finish that doesn't linger at all.  This was a really good IPA and very tasty.  I'd definitely suggest it for a "My First IPA" as the bitterness was really mild and it has a nice malt backbone.  It's possible the keg from last night was old and that's why the bitterness was so mild but I doubt it based on the nose.  Definitely worth searching out especially as it's relatively inexpensive in bottles (at least inexpensive for Founders.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Great Lakes Doppelrock

I needed to wait for my wife on Sunday so I stepped into London Grill and got a glass of Great Lakes Doppelrock, surprisingly enough, a doppelbock.
Had a nice sweet caramel nose.  Not quite as sweet smelling as some doppelbocks, but close.  Initially, some bread notes, some caramel and some toffee.  Mostly caramel and toffee were apparent as I drank more of it.  Pretty tasty and glad I got to try it as I love doppelbocks.  Love them.  So much.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rosso e Marrone at Captain Lawrence

In part 3 of beer is a way of life and not a hobby (see parts one and two), my friends and I drove out to the Captain Lawrence brewery in Pleasantville, NY to go to the release of Rosso E Marrone.  The beer is a sour aged in oak barrels and fermented with grapes.  For more info, go to their website here.

I woke up at 3:30am and prepared for the trip.  Beers, check.  Espresso brownies, check.  Tasting glass (so important), check.  Okay, good to go.  Left at 4am, picked up my friend Craig and two others I had met recently, and headed out from Philly by about 4:45am.  Totally a reasonable time to start the day.  At least I can say I slept for 5 hours.  Craig worked late the night before and didn't get any sleep and I'm honestly not sure how he made it through the day.  Alcohol may have played a part I guess.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Firestone Walker at Jose Pistola's

Since I didn't have a chance to try the Firestone Walker Double Jack or 14th Anniversary at Monk's, I decided to spend lunch at Jose Pistola's this past Friday.  I haven't been there in a while either so that helped me make the decision as well.  I arrived around noon, took a seat at the bar and ordered the first of the two I missed, Double Jack, their double IPA.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bell's Pale Ale

Stopped by the Kite & Key to meet up with some friends on my way home from work yesterday and had a glass of Bell's Pale Ale.
Smelled grapefruity.  Initially got some notes of orange with a tiny bit of bitterness.  Similar flavors continued as I worked my way through the glass.  Very clean tasting and refreshing.  The bitterness never overwhelms.  This would be very nice on a hot day.  Tasty pale ale.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Firestone Walker at Monk's

I'd been hearing a lot about the Firestone Walker brewery and so I was really excited that Origlio was going to start distributing them here in Philly.  It has been available in parts of New Jersey for a while but now I'll be able to find it on draft in the city which will be nice.  To celebrate the arrival, some brewery employees (including the owner) were making their way around the town and a lot of bars were having events.  I decided that Monk's Cafe would be the easiest place to check out some of the new beers and so headed there on Monday for their event.

I arrived a bit too early (partially so I'd get a seat although it turned out to be unnecessary) and so none of the Firestone Walker stuff was on draft yet.  To pass the time, I bought a bottle of Hitachino Commemorative Ale.  Plus, Monk's was donating all of their sales of Hitachino that day to the relief effort in Japan so it's like I was donating to charity.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Clown Shoes Clementine White Ale

I've almost bought stuff from the Clown Shoes brewery a couple times as their beers sounds pretty tasty but haven't yet done so.  (They have a Pecan Pie Porter that sounds delicious.)  So I was excited when I saw that Chris brought me one of their beers, the Clementine White Ale.
Similar to the Port City Optimal Wit, it smells like a white ale.  Some banana, tiny bit of spice, some wheat.  Flavor is a bit more though.  Orange, spices, banana and finishing a little bitter.  Medium mouthfeel, not too dry.  As it warmed up, some more orange fruit notes start appearing giving some truth to the name.  Tasty beer and a nice change of pace.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Port City Optimal Wit

Port City Optimal Wit was another gift from my friend Chris.
Smelled of wheat and mild banana.  Just tons of wheat.  Vanilla, orange, and a little citrus in the first sip.  As I drank more, I started getting a lot of floral notes with some mild spice in the back, probably a result of it warming up.  Pretty decent wit, no real complaints.  Made a nice break from all the barleywines and imperial stouts that I've been drinking lately.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Groggy Afternoon at Nodding Head

This past weekend, Nodding Head held their fourth Second Saturday event.  This time it was named "Groggy Afternoon" and consisted of variations on their brown ale, Grog.  They put the Grog into three different casks and added different ingredients, ending up with Mole, Cherry, and Mocha.  They also had the Grog D'Oer, an oak aged version fermented with a Belgian yeast from the De Dolle brewery in Belgium, and a shot of rum mixed with sugar and some other stuff (get it?  Real grog!)  I wish I had gotten a picture of him, but one of their brewers also put on a sailor's hat and white shirt as his "costume" for the event.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Beerschooled - Sours Class

After the great intro to homebrewing class by Beerschooled, I knew I'd go to another as long as the topic was interesting to me.  I finally got my chance when they announced a sours tasting class.  The Hulmeville Inn was hosting a Cicerone exam proctored by certified Cicerone Nicole Erny and so Jeff (beerschooled Jeff, not Hulmeville Inn owner Jeff.  So many Jeffs) took advantage of that and asked her to teach a class on sours with a little bit on Belgium.  I arrived at the Hulmeville Inn a bit early so I got a glass of Rogue Shakespeare Stout, an oatmeal stout, to pass the time.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

St. George India Pale Ale

St. George India Pale Ale was one of the bottles given to me by Chris when he recently visited.
Very piney nose, almost resiny with maybe a little caramel in the back.  Interestingly enough, my first sip was full of grapefruit followed by some citrus notes instead of the pine I got in the aroma.  Clean finish without much bitterness.  Very balanced and easy drinking compared to some of the hop bombs I've had.  Good choice and tasty beer.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Chris, Mad Fox and some locals

My friend Chris visited this past weekend and he brought two growlers from Mad Fox Brewing, a brew pub in Falls Church, Virginia.  He also brought me a six pack which I'll be drinking over the next two weeks or so.  Thanks Chris!

We started with the Mad Fox Slobberknocker, an American Barleywine.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Russian River at Capone's

I reserved a bottle of East End Gratitude at Capone's back in late January and had not managed to make it there to pick it up.  Once I read about the Russian River event on April 2nd, I figured that would be a good day to make my way over there and finally grab it.  While Pliny the Younger was available for the event, I decided to try  to avoid some of the crowd and arrived two hours after opening instead.  I was mostly interested in trying batch 1 Consecration anyway so it seemed like a good idea.

When I arrived, there was still a decently large crowd so I got my Consecration Batch 1 and stood out of the way for a while.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Thursdays shouldn't be this awesome

While it shouldn't surprise me after last time, my buddy Craig is really generous with his beer.  We planned to get together and split my bottle of Ommegang Bourbon Barrel Three Philosophers and his 2006 Alesmith Decadence, Dead by Dawn.  What ended up happening was basically that but we also opened a bottle of Jackie O's Cellar Cuvee 2, a coffee imperial stout from 2009, because Craig pulled out like 5 bottles of other rare stuff and just told me to choose.

We started with the Ommegang Bourbon Barrel Three Philosophers I picked up at the brewery during the Inn at Cooperstown weekend (Friday and Saturday).  It was barreled in September 2009 and then bottled in 2010 so it was already almost two years old when I bought it.