Friday, November 30, 2012

Bear Republic Big Black Bear Stout

Still working on my backlog, but taking a break today since it's full of ridiculously long posts and I just wrote one of those yesterday. Instead, I'm going to be lazy and write about the Bear Republic Big Black Bear Stout I had at Kite & Key on Monday.
Smooth chocolate nose. Light on the roast and more sweet smelling than anything. Body was similar with chocolate, a light licorice roastiness, and some roast in the finish. Basically what you'd expect from a stout. Nothing that will blow you away, but still tasty and worth trying.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Beers at Sabrina's

Just before Thanksgiving, some friends of mine decided that their cellars were getting too large. To try and start to fix the issue, they asked on twitter if people wanted to go to a BYOB and share some beers and have dinner. I had nothing to do that night and Jo didn't care about eating dinner alone so I figured why not. After some back and forth, we decided on Sabrina's in Fairmount as I figured it wouldn't be too busy as it's mostly a brunch place and it's informal enough that they wouldn't mind us sitting around drinking forever.

After ordering some food and settling in we decided to start with Deschutes The Dissident, the one sour Matt brought along.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Firestone Walker Sucaba

Back from Thanksgiving and after a number of days off I'm still not that rested. It's amazing how quickly four days go by. At least I have some time off during Christmas to look forward to since after that it's nothing until Memorial Day.

I've still got a bit of a backlog from before Thanksgiving so I'll continue working that off. To start, I drank my bottle of Firestone Walker Sucaba a couple weekends ago. It's a blended barrel aged barleywine that used to be called Abacus but was turned backwards due to a trademark dispute. Hence the odd, current name. I still contend they should have named it Manual Calculator, but I guess that's too goofy. Would have been hilarious though.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tired Hands!

I haven't made a trip to Tired Hands in forever but finally made up for it last Thursday. I'm going later today too actually but that's unrelated to this post. I arrived a little before five and the downstairs bar was already filling up with a few people sitting at the tables. Seems like they are doing pretty well which is awesome. I'm certainly hoping so as it's just getting better and I can't wait to see how things continue to progress.

I started with one of the newer beers, Slava Oner, a Kvass, which is a style I've never had. I'm unsure how to actually pronounce that style but I just pronounce the K and V and move on with my life. I'm sure that's wrong somehow but whatever.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Boulevard Nommo Dubbel

Not sure when I drank this, maybe a week ago Sunday? I have a backlog of things to write about that's just getting worse at the moment. Going out every night this week isn't really going to help with that but oh well. Boulevard Nommo Dubbel is a dubbel, obviously, with some spices added to it. I picked it up in Houston when I was there in early November.
Unfortunately, right from the beginning, I was thinking this was a big miss by Boulevard. Some spice in the nose and also a really noticeable metallic note that is just completely off putting. The body was luckily missing the metallic portion of the nose but there were other issues. Sweet up front, slightly spicy, then super sharp biting alcohol in the finish that was remarkably unpleasant. Flavors didn't blend well either with the spiciness not meshing with the little sweetness that peaked through in the beginning.

Since I'm crazy, I powered through my bad feelings about it and drank the whole bottle. I'll admit it got a tiny bit better as I got used to the alcohol. The sweetness came up a bit and I felt like I got a view into what Boulevard was aiming for with this beer. However, it was really not very good and either Boulevard agrees with me or consumers do as they discontinued this one for 2013. Maybe they'll retool the recipe for 2014 or they'll just cancel it forever, but regardless I hope they do something.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Brunch at Kraftwork

Two weekends ago, Jo and I decided to stop at Kraftwork for brunch before heading over to Greensgrow to pick up our CSA allotment. On top of being on the way, I'd heard the food was quite good and their beer list is always top notch. Turns out their food really is that good as both Jo and I had excellent meals. Their biscuits especially were delicious and if you go definitely order them. To drink, I decided to start with Bell's This One Goes to Eleven. I think it's supposed to be an imperial red ale by style but I don't know 100%. I do know the name is from This is Spinal Tap, a pretty funny movie if you've never seen it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Alesmith Decadence 2011

Every year, Alesmith puts out a new version of Decadence and each year it's a totally different style. I'm unsure what the 2012 version was, but the 2011 I drank over the weekend was a Maple Smoked Barleywine. Meaning smoked with maple wood, not brewed with maple and then smoked. I was slightly confused by the wording so I figured I'd explain.
Smoky nose, quite noticeable but still pleasant. Smoke was basically on the campfire side of smokiness which I enjoy. On the first sip, there was a mix of smoke and caramel which led into a smoky aftertaste. Not overpowering just delicious. The smoke faded a little after the beginning sips as I got more used to it but still stayed present in the finish and aftertaste. I will say that the 11% ABV was amazingly well hidden. Other than some light heat, it was just nonexistent. Pretty unbelievable really and nice when you are drinking a whole bottle by yourself. This was sent to me from my buddy in San Diego a while ago and I'm glad he included it. Thanks Eric!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Allagash Cookbook at Pub & Kitchen

Last night I was invited to the release party at the Pub & Kitchen for Allagash: The Cookbook. I hadn't heard anything about the cookbook up until last week when the invite arrived in my inbox but apparently it's about two years in the making. That a ton of time was put into the book really shows in every piece of it: the pictures, the recipes, and the overall build quality.

The event had Allagash's Rob Tod and Suzy Woods along with the photographer for the book, Brian Smestad. In the below picture, Brian is in the middle, Rob to his left, and Suzy is to his left.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Victory Ranch R at Kite & Key

Stopped in at Kite & Key yesterday and was happy to find quite a few beers from Saturday's Craft Beer Express still available. I wasn't able to go this year so missed out on a few things but there was still tons of Victory left. I settled on the Ranch R, a double IPA, as I've heard good things about it.
Really enjoyable nose. Very clean and bright with tons of orange citrus. The beginning sips had some nice balance with a mix of some caramel sweetness and a little lemony bitterness. As I drank more, it became quite a bit more piney and earthy. Interesting change, that's for sure. Kept that way through the rest of the glass with the citrus basically fading out. Pretty good double IPA.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bell's Bourbon Barrel Batch 9000

On Friday, I was sort of bored at work and decided a trip to Varga for lunch was the perfect thing to pass the time. I chose Varga because I heard the Bell's Bourbon Barrel Batch 9000 was still on draft even though it had been available for a week and I really wanted to try it. Really glad I did since it was pretty awesome. I was pretty shocked to even see it in Philly since I thought it was only available at the Bell's General Store at their brewery. Always happy to be wrong about stuff like that though.
Bourbon and caramel nose, quite sweet without any sign of the 15% ABV. On first sip, very fruity up front with chocolate, caramel and a little heat from the alcohol in the finish. Some plum and raisin as well. Definitely tasty but also incredibly strongly flavored even if the alcohol was well hidden. This beer wasn't fooling around. While I probably could have drank a little bit more of it than what was in the small glass, it was nearly enough considering the strength and sweetness. Still, pretty excellent beer and very happy to get a chance to try it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

De Struise Sint Amatus 12

Following on my fun beer Wednesday, I grabbed this one for last night. It's been in my beer fridge for a while now and grabbed my eye last night so why not. Sint Amatus 12 is a quad that I think was partially bourbon barrel aged, but I'm not 100% sure.
Bourbon in the nose though whether it's from actual barrels or my imagination I don't know. Along with that I found caramel, vanilla, and plum. Quite complex. Medium carbonation. Body followed the nose with plum, caramel, some cherry, and maybe a little of that bourbon flavor in the back as well. As I drank more, some chocolate appeared which was just delicious. Very solid quad and no hints of alcohol. Delicious stuff.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lost Abbey Deliverance

I decided to open up something fun last night because why not? Best way to end the worst day of the week is with a fun beer. Lost Abbey Deliverance is a blend of the Brandy Barrel Angel's Share and Bourbon Barrel Serpent's Stout. You can't get the latter beer for the most part but the Brandy Barrel Angel's Share is usually available.
Wow, absolutely powerful nose. Huge bourbon with a hint of brandy sweetness. No whiff of the 12.5% ABV which is really impressive. Just crazy strong though. Thick as oil with limited carbonation. Bourbon caramel up front, some vanilla, light alcohol burn but not astringent or sharp. Chocolate and caramel in the finish with a nice sweetness rounding things out. This beer isn't fooling around at all but it was delicious. Totally lived up to my expectations. As I said, though, it's a sipper and quite powerful. You have to like that bourbon flavor to like this.

I just wish Lost Abbey stuff wasn't so expensive because when it's on, it's quite amazing. But I generally don't like spending close to $20 for a small 375mL bottle so oh well.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Goose Island Nut Brown

After voting last night, Jo and I decided to go out for a quick dinner. When we saw the Goose Island Nut Brown on the menu, she told me I should order that since I'd been ignoring her demographic, people who like brown ales.
Nice nutty nose, quite pleasant. Hazelnut beginning with a light roast in the middle following it. Some more nuttiness in the finish and aftertaste. This won't blow your socks off, but if you like brown ales that are more nutty than burnt it was quite a good example. And that's my brown ale post for my wife and probably the last one for a while since I rarely drink them. Should fulfill my quota for now though.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Evolution Lot Three

I had Evolution Lot Six a while ago at Capone's and really enjoyed it. So when I saw Lot Three on tap at Kite & Key I figured I'd give it a try and see how Evolution does with regular IPAs.
Pleasant citrusy, grapefruit nose. Not strong, but noticeable. Bitter up front then a little sweetness and caramel appeared in the middle. Not strongly sweet, but present. There was a little breadiness hiding in there too. Bitter aftertaste and somewhat lingering. Decent enough though I found the breadiness slightly odd in an IPA. I liked the Lot Six a little better I'll admit but this was pretty good.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Real Ale Sisyphus

Over the weekend, my wife and I took a trip to Houston for a friend's wedding. I got to have a bunch of Texas beers Friday night but didn't take any notes or pictures since, well, we were there for the wedding and I wasn't going to be rude. The sour from Real Ale, Scots Gone Wild, was pretty decent though so if you see it somehow, give it a try.

But, to make up for that, I went to a liquor store named Specs on Saturday and picked up some beers to bring home. I also picked up some bottles of Real Ale Sisyphus, a barleywine, and opened one before the wedding to give it a try.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Trip to Moe's!

I was in Lee this past weekend so of course that means a trip to Moe's! For those that don't know, Moe's is a small bar in my wife's home town of Lee, Mass. It opened up about five years ago and it's been where I go to drink ever since then. They don't have food, but you can always order some to be delivered if you want it. We always just go before or after dinner so whatever.