Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Road Dog Porter

Brewer: Flying Dog, Denver, CO and Frederick, MD (more recently)

ABV: 6%

COLOR: Hearty Amber. Dark and Rich

Aroma: High quality chocolate malts and an almost plum-like aroma that all scottish porters tend to have

Flavor: Very rich in malts. Not very hoppy (31 IBU) but balanced well for a crisp finish, unlike many cheaper porters.

Opinion: This beer has been one of my absolute favorite beers for years. It's what I've always compared every porter to since. The brewery is great. Everything they touch turns to gold. It's not hard to tell why Hunter S. Thompson lends his name to it and gave them their catch phrase "good people drink good beer." On a more personal note, I appreciate how the brewery fought the censuring of their "Good beer. no shit." until they inevitably won the case, and now proudly print the word "shit" all over their bottle. So in that regard, here's my full opinion.

This shit is the best shit you'll find. It's so rare that a bar even has this shit, that if you happen upon some shitty bar that does, call the owner and tell him how great his shit is. Essentially, if you don't like this shit, then you're nothing but a shit and you should eat shit and die, shiteater. Now go off and buy this shit or you will forever be drinking far shittier beer.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Stone's 12th anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout

Brewer: Stone Brewing Company, San Diego, CA
ABV: 9.2%
COLOR: Black. Coal Black.
Aroma: You are really overpowered by a combination of the chocolate and the alcohol--a whiskey aroma.
Flavor: Very dark. Bitter, but not a different kind of bitter, lending itself entirely to the chocolate and not hops. The alcohol is prevalent, like drinking an aged bourbon.

Opinion: The first thing that stands out as you drink it is, this tastes like the kind of chocolate bar that's way too fancy for me. It's like drinking a highly alcoholic bitter chocolate bar that deserves to be made into a cheesecake. They say it themselves, due to the international hop-shortage, they went with a non-hoppy beer for this year's anniversary ale. I think the risk paid off, but I also think this beer is too young. Knowing Stone, they probably aged it about 6 months before selling, but it tastes like it needs a few more years under its belt.

This beer is good for two things:
1) Buy it and store it for ~2 years, then drink it the next time Dr. I.J. Hoffman stops by.

2) Make it dessert. Pair it with cheesecake, or put some vanilla ice-cream in it and make a beer float (if you've never done this before, I recommend you go out and by the first porter/oatmeal stout you find and do this).

If you've decided to just drink this for shits and giggles, be prepared: this beer will knock you on your ass. It's like a Young's double chocolate, but, ya know, for men.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Anderson Valley Hop Ottin' IPA

Brewer: Anderson Valley Brewing Co, Mendocino County, CA
ABV: 7%
COLOR: fucking purple rainbows... what do you think.
Aroma: It's hoppy but there's a hint of sweetness behind it
Flavor: Bold and full. There's more to it than just hops, but they add a great finish.
Opinion: I'm a huge fan of Anderson Valley. Their Oatmeal Stout is one of the best you can buy, and it won't cost you a Sammy Smiths (it's no drake's crude, though). It's a beer you can find pretty readily. I got mine at Trader Joe's.

Their choice in hops is really excellent. They way I judge an IPA is I take a sip, and breathe out through my nose as I drink it. If the hops are balanced right, this experience is better than the initial taste. This IPA definitely upholds this. It's a very refreshing IPA. I wouldn't recommend chugging it after a 5K, but it would be great on a hot day.

I would actually say that it's stronger than a normal IPA. Both the alcohol, at a respectable 7%, and the strength of the hops (probably a lot of Magnum) resemble more of a double IPA.

It's definitely worth a try, but then again, all of AVBC's beer's are fantastic. Plus, they're a solar powered brewery, so you can feel like you're better than everyone else before the alcohol even kicks in.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Stone Brewery

Well, it's about time that I started contributing to this goddamn webpage...

As you all know (to painfully annoying detail), I've been living in San Diego for the past year. What you probably don't know is that I started working at a bar that has 24 taps of high-end and local beers. Through this I've gotten accustomed to a lot of great california beer, reviews to follow. I've also had the pleasure of being in aroma proximity to the Stone Brewery. Having recently finished my fifth brewery tour, I figured I should share some of what I've found:

I'm not even really sure where to begin... You've probably all had a stone beer before, whether their hearty pale ale, or their tast-bud raping ruination double ipa. I recommend going out and buying their arrogant bastard ale right now. Anyway, their whole attitude is "you're not worthy" or "you won't like this beer," etc.. Their brewery is the same. Even finding the place... it's not on google maps (at least not the right address). The building is completely un-marked. You have to know where it is. As you walk up to the front of the brewery, you notice the incredible gardens that surround you. They have vines of lavendar and orange above your head and rows of ivy at your feet. You enter through the restaurant, greeted with a massive boulder in the middle. The smell is overwhelming. It's not the usually malty smell of a brewery. They take the floral, spicy aroma of the hops and mix it with the aroma of the gardens and taunting smells from the kitchen. The restaurant is open to the outside with koi ponds throughout, and is made of raw stone and unpolished steel. The bar, incredibly stocked with beers from Victory to Ommegang to Mad River on tap, and about 100 other specialty beers in bottles, gives way to the giant fermenting tanks, held immaculate behind a wall of glass.

During the tour, the guide carries a beer for "demonstration purposes," and casually demonstrates how to drink it in between each station. As for the tour itself, it's fairly standard. They pass around malts and hops that you can taste. Then they talk about the history of the brewery, etc. They let you see anything you want, unlike the bigger brewery tours. I got to go into their hop fridge. Once the tour is over, they give you a 7 oz taster glass and say you can have four beers from their ~10 different varieties. Of course this is not a strict number. They give you some bullshit about how you've got an honest face and they don't usually do this, then pour you some more beers. The best part about this is that this whole event so far has been free.

After I peruse the gift shop for a while, past shirts that say "fizzy yellow beer is for wussies" and beach towels with the gargoyle mascot exclaiming "you're not worthy" to all the annoying beachcombers, I head to the beer garden. That's right, behind the restaurant, there's and honest to god beer garden. They have rocks placed just so that you can rest your beer on them while sitting next the the waterfall. After a few hours, I get hungry and head to the restaurant. Stone specializes in having local organic foods prepared depending on what's available. The duck tacos are amazing, and I highly recommend the buffalo burger (get the extra peppers, but be careful, they're hotter than Kurtains' wing-o-death sauce). The food is incredible, but so are the prices. A full meal (without beer) will set you back ~$30-40 a person (with tip). After the meal, they set up a projector in the garden and played The Blues Brothers movie. Every week is a different classic movie. I don't really remember what happened after that, but I woke up in my own bed, so it was alright.

As far as I'm concerned, the Stone Brewery has it right. It's like Disneyland, only less anti-semitic and with a friendlier mascot. So if you're ever in San Diego, go to the Stone Brewery. Fuck the zoo... you can't drink a zebra.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Frugal Joes Ordinary Beer

Brewer: Steinhaus Brewing Company
ABV: ?
COLOR: Pale Yellow
Aroma: Sweet Malty
Flavor: Honey-Malty
Found this in my fridge, my roomate mentioned he got it at Trader Joes. Basically I was expecting an above average generic pale ale. Didn't necessarily get that, but it is in no way above average. It is a very sweet beer, almost Belgian tasting (minus the spice). Little to no hop aroma leaves it very bland tasting after the first couple of swigs this beer gets really old (really quick). Not sure of the price, but i would not invest in this if it was more than 18-20 a case...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Fun for the whole family...

So, the last few years when my family and I have went on vacation we have had a "beer tasting" event. Now, this differs a little from those snobby wine tasting parties, and the amount of people who have partaken has never gone over 8, but I assume you could expand it quite easily.

The way we start out is we goto this local make your own six pack store in North Carolina called Chips ( which i highly recommend for beer and wine purchasing when in the Outer banks.

Picking the Beers

We normally buy a large selection of beer (usually every person buys a six pack), we only buy one of each due to the small amount of people partaking, but if you want to expand you would have to buy multiple of each bottle. Now as for your selection you can really do whatever you want. We normally try and get a wide variety of styles (we do focus on specific styles we know people enjoy, and avoid ones people do not enjoy), but I could also see it being very fun to maybe buy all of one type of beer and rate them to find the best Porter for example. Also, you will probably pick these depending on how serious you want to be with this, we normally don't read to much into what we are buying because we are just hanging out and having a good time and not actually trying to accomplish anything major in our decisions. Anyways that's enough on picking the beers, moving onto the actual "event"

Running the Event

The way we run our event is a very interactive social way, unlike some other versions where people write down their opinions of the beer. Basically, we put the beer in some sort of tasting order, we try to make sure the most flavorful and strong beers are at the end so they don't overpower your taste buds, and we just start drinking. After each beer, somebody rinses the glasses, and everybody eats something to clean their pallet (can be a variety of things). Then we put the bottle back on the table in the order of which we rate it (left to right, left being #1). This is fun because after every beer you can move around the order. Normally the event takes around 1.5-3 hours depending on how many people and how many beers.


Yeah, this isn't anything I am presenting to you as a definitive way to do this, I am just saying this is how we do it and we always have a great time. So please try and put your own spin on this and help try and perfect it. And if anything you do works really well, please post it here so we all can learn from you.