Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sours on Christmas Eve

Well, guess I decided to write about Christmas Eve instead of the Bell's event. Too lazy to get the pictures off my camera right now mostly. For Christmas Eve, I decided to do a sours theme because I wanted to see how the two Captain Lawrence beers were tasting and I needed to get the bottle of Duchesse de Bourgogne out of my beer fridge.

I started with the Cuvee De Castleton as the base for it is a blonde ale and I thought it would be the lightest flavored. It's aged with muscat grapes.
Musty nose with a bit of grape in it. Quite inviting. Super tart but no mustiness in the first sip with a bit of grapey sweetness. Pretty dry finish. Continued along those lines with a perfectly balanced tartness never becoming to dry or acetic. Really delicious.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Beers on Little Christmas Eve

For the past two years (that's this year and last since Christmas is over now), I've been sharing some of my cellared (okay, it's just a basement) beers with my wife's family over Christmas. It may only be a two year tradition but it certainly feels like it's going to stick. Besides forcing my hand into drinking things out of the cellar, it's also fun to share the beers with people that aren't as into the beer scene as me. Gives a new perspective on things and such. This year I decided to do theme nights starting with Imperial Stouts.

The first one I opened was the pretty rare Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS).

Friday, December 23, 2011

New Holland The Poet

In my last visit to Kite & Key before the holidays, I ordered a New Holland The Poet, an oatmeal stout. It was actually a hard decision this time since there had been a decent amount of turnover but this seemed like a good choice.
Roasty nose but pretty mild otherwise. Smooth roast flavors started things off mixed with a slight bitterness. As it warmed up, some milky creaminess joined the roast and smoothed everything out. The latter was definitely the oat part of the beer coming through and it really brought it from just being okay to being pretty decent. Quite an enjoyable beer.

Hope everyone has a great holiday and has some awesome beers lined up! I know I do with some Founders CBS tonight, some Captain Lawrence sours tomorrow, some pumpkin beers on Sunday, and then maybe some barleywines Monday. Should be a great weekend.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

River Horse Tripel Horse

Another of the beers left behind by my forgetful friends was River Horse Tripel Horse.
Hints of banana and clove with a decent amount of sweetness in the nose. Some alcohol too. Starts really sugary with clove and more hints of bananas. Mostly continues that way though the sweetness becomes a little much after about half the glass. Decent enough but it wasn't as good as the Heavy Seas Yule Tide from the other day.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Random Beer from my Brother

My brother has started to make a tradition of giving me beer as my Hanukkah present. Works for me! This one we were supposed to open together, but we totally forgot to do so. Oh well. This was a beer made by a friend of his at a brewery (possibly Shenandoah which is now the Farmer's Cabinet brewery) and was supposedly an Oatmeal Stout.
Smelled like dark fruit with a hint of hops. Some sourness in the nose was the first hint that something was terribly wrong with this. At first, I thought it was a sherry flavor since it was over a year old, but as I drank more I realized it was more of a sharp tanginess, reminiscent of infection. It sort of reminded me of a really poor sour porter but way less drinkable. I did manage to get through the whole glass in the picture so it wasn't undrinkable, just bizarre.

Honestly, looking at the picture, you can see how thin the body is since you can basically see through it. My recommendation to my brother's friend is to drink the rest of these if he has any left since it's just going to get worse as the infection spreads.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Heavy Seas Yule Tide

One of the random side effects of the beer tasting I held a little while ago was that a bunch of beers were left in my refrigerator. I wanted people to take them home with them but they forgot. Oh well. Guess I'll just have to drink them. The sacrifices I make in life.

The Heavy Seas Yule Tide, a Tripel, was one of them.
Quite a sweet nose with hints of clove and some slight pepper notes. First sip was quite fruity, lots of apple flavor. Some peppery bitterness appeared as I drank more but the major point was the fruity sweetness. I think I like my tripels to be dryer as the sweetness in this one was a bit too much for such a big bottle.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nodding Head 12 Beers of Christmas

On the second Saturday of December, Nodding Head held an event called 12 Beers of Christmas. They've been doing second Saturday events for quite a while now and they always have a few special beers for each event. For this one, they had 2010 Sledwrecker, Phunkywine, and some Grog aged in a JW Lees barrel. There were also quite a few others as they had like 12 beers available so it was quite an afternoon. When I arrived, things were slightly busy but there was plenty of room to stand.

Knowing I'd end up ordering all the beers I wanted anyway, I decided to start with the JW Lees Grog as it was in a small firkin sitting on the bar so I felt like it had the highest chance of kicking at some point.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jabroni En Garde

En Garde is one of the homebrews that my buddy Pete brought to the beer tasting the other night. It's a Biere de Garde according to him.
Peppery nose with some breadiness to it. Not as much spiciness in the first sip though. Some bitterness followed but very mild. Decently clean finish. As it warmed up, I started getting more notes of clove which was really interesting. I'm guessing it's a result of the yeast but regardless it makes the beer much better.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Swedish Beer on Saint Lucia

For those that don't know, my wife is half Swedish and so we celebrated Saint Lucia day this year. Saint Lucia is a Swedish holiday where parents force their young daughters to wear crowns with lit candles on their heads which then drip hot wax all over them. Nah, just kidding. Well, okay, sort of kidding. It's really about how the Swedes thought December 13th was the darkest day of the year and so they celebrated Saint Lucia bringing them light. To remember this, they have children wear crowns with candles hence the melting wax. Nowadays, though, I believe they use electric candles so it's much safer.

We finally have enough room at our new house so we had some friends over to celebrate Saint Lucia this year. One was nice enough to bring a beer that was actually from Sweden, Dugges 1/2 Idjit, a porter.
Nose was full of roast, molasses and licorice. Really interesting. First sip had roast, coffee, a little saltiness, and some hints of licorice. The saltiness and licorice made for an interesting finish to the beer. Apparently, salty licorice is a thing and quite a favorite in Sweden so it makes sense to aim for that flavor. It actually reminded me a little bit of Deschutes The Abyss although only in flavor not body. This was pretty unique and it was really nice of my buddy to bring it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Beer Tasting 4

Yet again I invited some friends over to share some beers and hang out. There were eight of us this time so there was quite a bit of beer opened, some good, some, well, not so good. I also discovered they think I use the descriptor banana a ton when writing this, but I attribute it to drinking Belgian style stuff a lot right now (especially Weyerbacher) and I'm sticking with that.

Here's the first set of bottles we worked through.
From left to right but not in order: Pete G. En Garde, Samuel Smith Winter Warmer, Pete G. Double Pumpkin, Allagash Tripel, Victory Otto, Boulevard The Sixth Glass, Mike D. Braggot.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fegley's Brew Works Devious Imperial Pumpkin

I think I have one more pumpkin after this one so expect that one soon. The Devious is an imperial pumpkin coming in at 9%.
Huge cinnamon, allspice and clove nose. Just tons of spice. Interestingly enough, the flavors were way more smooth and understated. Started with some brown sugar maltiness with some cinnamon appearing along with a tiny bit of general spiciness and then finishing sweet. I liked the difference between the nose and body as it got you ready to drink this spice laden monster only to get a nice balanced sweetness instead. Really good pumpkin and something I'd get again.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Weyerbacher Tango

The Weyerbacher Tango is the newest Brewer's Select beer from Weyerbacher. It's a Belgian Strong Dark Ale brewed with cherries.
Seeing as how this is a Belgian from Weyerbacher, I had certain biases going into it since their Belgians mostly all have the same base flavor. The nose had a strong flavor of bananas without much else. Didn't find any cherry in it. Taste followed with banana then some hints of clove. As I drank more of it, I got some flashes of cherry but nothing really strong or obvious. It was slightly reminiscent of Troegs Mad Elf although not quite as sweet and the Belgian yeast flavors were a bit stronger. Decently enjoyable but I do find the Belgian flavors from Weyerbacher's yeast to be a bit much at times. Probably wouldn't want more than a glass of this as a result.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Victory Storm King on the hand pump

Went to Kite & Key like usual yesterday but didn't find anything to order that immediately jumped out at me. So, just to see if I really don't like it, I ordered a Victory Storm King from their hand pump.
Slight roast with a hint of the hops on the nose. Sort of bitter up front, followed by roast, then finished with a mix of bitterness and chocolate. For an imperial stout, it's amazingly hoppy even being poured from the handpump. For me, the flavors just never melded properly and it was just unpleasantly bitter. I don't know if the recipe has changed over the years or what since I swear I used to like it but now it's just bleh to me. Oh well. At least I finally know not to order it again.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cuvee De Castleton release at Captain Lawrence

Once again, our intrepid beer release hound (that's me) decided to head up to Captain Lawrence for their latest release. This time it was for their Cuvee De Castleton, a golden ale fermented with muscat grapes in oak barrels. For a better description, see their website. Just like the release of their Rosso e Marrone, my friends and I knew we had to leave ridiculously early in order to be able to buy bottles so that's what we did. I tried to get a little bit of sleep beforehand and sort of succeeded but waking up in the middle of the night is still difficult. When my buddy arrived, I gathered my beer for sharing and some other stuff and we headed out on our way there.

After two or so hours, we arrived at Captain Lawrence. Of course there were already a bunch of people there but they were crazier than us as they'd been there since 8pm and drinking basically the entire time. Here's us just after we pulled into the lot.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bell's Oarsman

I've had this bottle for a while now and haven't found time to open it until now. Bell's Oarsman is a berliner weiss style beer and is a regular seasonal from Bell's.
Sort of a sour wheat nose which totally smells better than it sounds honestly. Slightly tart, hint of wheaty earthiness. The finish has a slight bitterness which fades quickly. Really, slight is the name of the game here. Everything is balanced and it's super easy drinking. It comes out some time in the summer, I think, which would make sense because on a hot summer day this would be awesome. Really enjoyed this.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dock Street and Local 44

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Dock Street decided to have a bottle release party for their Prisoner of Hell. Included with that release were bottles of last years Prince Myshkin and their '09 Barleywine. I realize I already have one of each of those two but, well, a second means when I drink one I still have one. Brilliant right? I think so at least and that's what matters to me. Plus, I met up with some friends for dinner so it wasn't totally just about the bottles.

When I got there, they hadn't started pouring the flemish red yet so I ordered the Rye IPA.
Grapefruit nose, slight rye spice. Started with the same slight rye flavor, moved on to being slightly bitter, and finished slightly peppery. Nice, balanced rye IPA without being too over the top with anything. Good way to start the visit.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bell's Sparkling Ale

I missed my first visit to Kite & Key in a while last week but I totally had a good excuse in that it was the Dock Street bottle release party plus Thanksgiving. So yeah. Lets put that behind us and move on to the newest streak. This time, I ordered a Bell's Sparkling Ale, a tripel.
As far as I can tell, Sparkling Ale is a new offering from Bell's that made it to Philly relatively recently. I could be wrong, obviously, but I don't remember seeing it around before now. Slight Belgian nose, hints of clove and banana. Quite tasty. Started with a raisin flavor, cloves, a tiny hit of bitterness, and a dryish Belgiany finish. Continued along those lines with the raisin and clove being the major players but the dryness kept it from ever being too sweet. Really enjoyed this one and another good entry from Bell's.