Thursday, July 28, 2011

Drinking with the Animals

The Philadelphia Zoo held its annual brewfest this past weekend and man was it fun. Where else are you going to be able to drink and look at animals? Actually, I might not want an answer to that. So yeah the brewfest. They give you free run of the zoo, including inside exhibits, have about 20 breweries, and a decent amount of pretty good food, some from local restaurants like The Khyber and Rembrandt's.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

21st Amendment Hop Crisis at the Kite & Key

In the next exciting installment of Rich goes to the Kite & Key, I got a glass of 21st Amendment Hop Crisis, a double IPA aged on oak spirals. (The difference between oak aged and aged on oak spirals is the former has the beer in an oak barrel while the latter throws little pieces of oak into the beer for aging. It changes how quickly the oak flavor affects the beer since there is more beer touching the oak spirals plus it's easier since you can throw oak spirals and beer into any container instead of needing to store barrels.)
Nice grapefruit nose. No bitterness at all. Starts with grapefruit, continues with more grapefruit, and ends with grapefruit. I didn't find any sweetness but detected a little oakiness in the finish. It doesn't say how long they aged it on oak spirals, but it must have been for at least a little while for the bitterness to die down. The aroma still exists because they dry hop it after aging. Overall, good choice to try and the bartender liked it so much she bought a case for herself from across the street.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mad Fox Brewpub

As I said in this post, my wife and I recently visited the Mad Fox Brewpub, located in Falls Church, VA just outside of DC. Pretty big place, looks like most other brewpubs. One half was tables and normal seating, the other the bar area with some other high tops I think. We got lunch with some friends of ours so I didn't spend any time at the bar. The food was pretty good. They even had something called Frickles which, if you couldn't guess, were fried pickles. Get it? Yeah. Delicious though.

It turned out to be their 1 year anniversary so they had some special beers to be released throughout the day. The first one was their Slobberknocker, an american barleywine, aged in oak barrels. I think they were some sort of bourbon barrels, possibly Heaven Hill, but I never got an answer. I'm pretending it's true in my comments though.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Three Floyds Apocalypse Cow

Last Friday, I opened up the bottle of Three Floyds Apocalypse Cow that my buddy Matt got me. It's a double IPA made with lactose sugar.
Sweet citrusy nose. First sip was impressive. Orange juice, caramel, a little milkiness. Not too bitter which made it very easy to drink as well. Very interesting beer. Since the hops were coming through very citrusy without any bitterness, it resulted in a pretty unique flavor. As I drank more of it, I could find the lactose in it, but maybe that was because it said so on the description. I'm really glad Matt was able to get me this as it was pretty great and definitely unique.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mad Fox Strawberry Blond

Jo and I visited DC this past weekend and visited the Mad Fox brewpub in Falls Church, VA as part of that trip. The trip to the brewery was really great, but I haven't quite gotten around to writing about it yet. Instead, I'll start with the growler we got, their Strawberry Blond.
It had one of the most interesting aromas I've ever smelled in a blond. Very musty, mixed with fermenting strawberries. The flavors followed the nose with the strawberry notes being present, but very mild and the interesting mustiness. I'm having a real difficult time describing it unfortunately. Lets just say it was tasty, refreshing and the fruit was pretty much the perfect sweetness without being syrupy or overpowering.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ithaca Flower Power at the Kite & Key

Although I tried to order the Firestone Walker Union Jack, it kicked while the bartender was pouring my draft so no go on that. Instead I got a glass of Ithaca Flower Power, an IPA. I had it a while back at Kennett but this time the picture is decent.
Very herbal and flowery nose. Thicker body than I expected. At first it started with some muted hop notes and slight bitterness. It finished with an interesting flowery sweetness, probably a result of the hop and malt flavors mixing together. Had some lingering bitterness but not bad. It's interesting how my impressions changed between the two glasses. At Kennett I thought it was more pine forward while this time more perfumey. The differences could also be attributed to the age of the keg but that's more difficult to pinpoint than just my tastes changing. Regardless, Flower Power is a pretty great IPA and you should order it if you get the chance.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Second Annual Beer Geek BBQ at the Hulmeville

With Natalie DeChico winning the Philly Beer Geek contest representing the Hulmeville Inn, it meant there was going to be a second BBQ party being held this year. If you remember, the last one had a barrel of bourbon Plead the Fifth (I had forgotten I got a full pint, awesome) so I had high hopes for this year. Luckily, Jeff delivered and then some. The US women's quarterfinal game was on, too, which was great.

I started with a glass of Central Water Bourbon Barrel Barleywine. (Shocking that I started with a barleywine, I know.)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Watching Soccer at the Kite & Key

Okay so I've been spending a lot of time at the Kite & Key. So sue me. It's close to our house, the atmosphere is nice, the beer list is pretty great, and they have tvs really well placed around the room. So, yeah, you are probably going to be seeing more posts about it. You'll have to deal with the disappointment.

For this time, Jo and I went because we wanted to watch the Germany vs. Japan Women's World Cup game while having a few beers. We settled down, Evan, the bartender, did us the favor of putting on the game, and I ordered a Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, an IPA made with rye.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bear Republic Apex at the Kite & Key

Another Tuesday, another visit to the Kite & Key. Kind of surprised I've managed to keep up my tradition for even three weeks, but it's pretty easy to stop at on the way home from work. This time I got a glass of Bear Republic Apex, a double IPA.
Hoppy grapefruit nose but very mild. On the first sip, I got some slight pine notes instead of grapefruit, some bitterness and a hint of sweetness. Both the bitterness and the sweetness were very light, leaving mostly just the very pleasant hop flavors. Honestly quite impressed with this Double IPA and really enjoyed my glass of it. It went down pretty easily too.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Visit to Yards on July 3rd

My wife's family and I were relaxing at a bar and her little sister asked if there were any breweries located in the city. We happened to have been drinking Yards at the time so I had a pretty easy answer. Lucky for us, their brewery and pub were open on Sunday July 3rd so I cleaned my growler and we went on our way. We got there around one and, funny enough, their head brewer Steve Mashington and owner Tom Kehoe were chilling at the bar, drinking beers. Always nice to see brewery personnel enjoying their own beers.
We started with two flights: one of their regular lineup and one of their Ales of the Revolution series. All of them were quite decent and drank really easily, a trademark of Yards in my opinion. I especially enjoyed the Brawler and IPA, with the former being one of my wife's favorite beers.

Monday, July 11, 2011

McNeill's Dark Angel

A while back Jo and I spent Christmas in Vermont and I picked up a couple bottles at a local shop. One of those was McNeill's Dark Angel, an Imperial Stout. McNeill's is a small brewery with the brewpub located in Brattleboro, VT. I say brewpub instead of brewery because I think the major brewing and bottling is done elsewhere.
Roasty, slightly hoppy nose. First sip was quite impressive. Roast, hint of vanilla, hint of chocolate, and ended with a mild hop bitterness that had faded quite a bit. Roasty chocolate aftertaste. Decently thick body as well. I read on the bottle that it is dry hopped which explains the strong hop characteristics. On the whole, the hops accentuate all the imperial stout flavors without overpowering them which is exactly what I like in a more hoppy imperial stout. It's hard to say if the beer is super hoppy fresh but with at least six months on it, it's pretty impressive and I really enjoyed it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Schneider Aventinus 2006

The second interesting bottle I opened for July 4th was a Schneider Aventinus that was brewed in 2006 and cellared at the brewery until released in the US in, I think, 2010. I was interested in opening this one because it's the year anniversary of the trip to Germany with my wife and visiting Schneider. I figured this would be the best time to open the bottle considering it was already five years old. Aventinus is a weizenbock and one of my favorite beers.
Smelled of caramel and plums and deliciousness. First sip had caramel, toffee, and plums with a hint of apple. Most of those flavors continued throughout the glass with the caramel and the plums being in the forefront. From what I remember of fresh Aventinus, this version was more complex with the added hint of apples. Really awesome beer. The only mistake I made was not having a fresh bottle on hand to compare it directly. When drinking older stuff, it's obviously much easier to find differences when you have both versions together but oh well. Still happy with opening this.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Firestone Walker Parabola

As part of my July 4th weekend, I opened up a couple of interesting bottles. One of those was the Firestone Walker Parabola, the latest release of their Proprietors Reserve series. Parabola is a barrel aged imperial stout aged in a few different types of barrels and then blended to make one excellent beer.
The nose immediately lets you know this is aged in bourbon barrels. Big bourbon nose, really sweet, smells almost chewy. Thick mouthfeel, completely coats your mouth. Reminds me a lot of their Abacus that I had a few months ago back at monks. First sip was hugely complex. Starts with bourbon, vanilla, chocolate and a hint of alcohol. Considering it's 13% not terribly surprising there's a little alcohol but it's incredibly well masked. The finish tasted like chocolate milk. Just fantastic. My brother in law thought it tasted a bit like Bailey's. As I drank more, I started getting some hints of graham cracker from the booze and molasses notes similar to other big imperial stouts. Just awesome and I'm really glad I have a few more bottles. It was everything I look for in a barrel aged imperial stout and was super drinkable at 13%.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Duck Rabbit Rabid Duck at the Kite & Key

Even though I had the day off yesterday, I figured it would be a really lame tradition if I missed my second Kite & Key Tuesday. Lucky for me, my wife was heading out somewhere and offered to drop me off so even my laziness and the horrible heat didn't get the better of me and I managed to make it. I got a glass of Duck Rabbit Rabid Duck this time.
Nice smooth roasty nose. Started a little roasty with a little bit of chocolate and ended with similar flavors but not as strong. However, there was a really odd celery flavor, almost like celery seeds, that mixed itself into the finish and aftertaste which was just really weird. It didn't keep me from drinking the glass, but definitely lowered my enjoyment quite a bit. I did a little research and it appears a celery or vegetal flavor can be a result of late hop additions. Some say fuggles can cause it while others say it can be the result of the use of old hops. Either way, it seems the fault lies in the brewing of the beer. Unfortunately I was alone so couldn't get a second opinion. Bizarre to say the least though and hopefully it only affected this batch of Rabid Duck. Better luck next time I guess.